Sunday, July 11, 2010

Methodist then, Methodist now

OK, so I'm still hooked on these postage-stamp-sized photographs of early Chariton buildings probably taken in 1868-69. Can't stop playing with them. But it's harmless play --- I think. The interesting fact is that so far as I know none of the 40 or so buildings, at that time the best the town had to offer, are still around, unless buried somewhere inside newer buildings and unrecognizable.

Residents and businesses have come, then gone forever. But the church congregations whose buildings were  photographed then still are around, although in different buildings; in a couple of instances, buildings in the same locations.

Take the Methodist Episcopal Church, above, and yes I know it's not that great a shot. But keep in mind that this is a 300 percent enlargement at 600 dpi over-corrected to make the detail (and the flaws) more evident.

This actually was not the first Methodist church built in Chariton. That was a frame structure dating from 1854 a short distance west of this building --- and the present First United Methodist Church.

This church, constructed of brick, was built during 1863-64 and served the congregation until the end of the century. The brand new parsonage is just to the right of the church building.

During 1899-1900, old brick was demolished and replaced by the current church which probably is Chariton's best building from an architectural standpoint when only the exterior is considered. It is absolutely magnificent, constructed of Bedford stone with a 92-foot tower and virtually unchanged. The postcard view below probably was taken not long after the church was completed

At about the same time, a pleasant two-story Victorian parsonage was built next door on the same site as the 1868-69 parsonage.

That parsonage came down in the early 1960s when it was decided to add a new education wing on the parsonage lot. There's not a thing wrong with that 1962 wing. It's a pleasant rose-colored brick structure with good detail that does not compete with the original church building. But it's a good example of how thinking has changed as the years have passed. Like most other church extensions built at that time across the country, no effort really was made to match the original building.

An entirely different approach was taken during the last few years when the Methodists acquired the former site of a drive-in bank just to the north of the church, giving them space to deal with the fact the original main entrance was a killer because of the long flights of steps leading up to the unsheltered front doors and the more convenient entrance, although safe, seemed a little like approaching through the back door.

Planners got the new entrance, completed if I remember right within the last year, just right. Built of the same stone as the original church and in a complementary style it looks like it belongs --- right down to stained glass in the right places. Below is how it looked just before sunset Sunday.

Remember: If you want to view larger versions of these photos it is necessary because of the oddities of this blog template to right click on the photo then left click on "open link" or "open link in new window."


Ed said...

Just wanted to say that a single left click still works for me to open up the pictures. I'm using Chrome.

Frank D. Myers said...

I hadn't thought of that. Guess I'd better download Chrome.

Ken said...

Actually, a single left click now works for me, too, and I'm still using Explorer. (I'm pretty sure that it didn't work when you first went to the new format.)

Ken said...

Oops! The left-click stopped working again. Who really know what goes on inside all this software?