Tuesday, April 28, 2009

St. Anne Catholic, North Little Rock

A pretty little church with a convenient covered walkway that would seem to invite parishioners to congregate on rainy days before the dash to the car. The decorative iron supports are a nice touch as well.

The color variation of the shingles matches that of the stonework. These photos were taken before the trees leafed out. Bet it's prettier now.

The parish web site tells how the building was a honky-tonk before it became a church. Now that's what I call a transition.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Centennial Baptist, Helena

The current issue of the Arkansas Times has a story titled "Centennial Church is falling down." Here's photographic evidence.

Built in 1905, the church stands testimony to the perseverance of its founders, E.C. Morris and Henry James Price, as well as the Delta's African-American community. It's on shaky ground now, though, as politics and money stand in the way of preserving the structure.

It's been over a decade since the last services were held at Centennial. The steel girders were erected as a temporary means of holding things together until the funds could be raised to do the job right, but doing so has proven to be difficult, to say the least. It's a shame, really, that feelings of pride should be mixed with feelings of hopelessness. Animosity rules in Helena-West Helena.

(That's my brother, Jim, snapping a picture for himself.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

unknown, Monroe County

If this building wasn't wearing that cross, I'd never give it the time of day. But the wooden cross on the metal building in all that green makes me wonder. Is it a church?

Monday, April 20, 2009

1st Presbyterian, Clarendon

The church Cumberland's congregation merged with in 1920 stood where this church stands today until a fire destroyed it about three years ago. The rebuilt church incorporates some of the original stained glass.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

formerly Cumberland Presbyterian, Clarendon


This fine old building was home to Cumberland Presbyterian Church from 1869 to 1920, at which time the congregation left the building to join with Clarendon's First Presbyterian, just up the road.

The belfry was added in 1887.

I went to the town's welcome center (located a block away from one of the state's finest county courthouses) and there I met a very nice lady, Mary Parker. She pointed me to a booklet entitled 'Pages from the Past Revisted - Historical Notes on Clarendon, Monroe County and Early Arkansas.,' by Jo Claire English. I read this about the church:

"The very best cypress timber was used for the building, having been brought by trams and wagons from the mill town of Aberdeen. This material was dressed by hand... In spite of floods and many years of weathering without proper care, the well built structure, with its wooden pegs intact, has defied going out of service."

exposed corner joinery

After it was a church, it was library. Until '27, that is, when the floods did in nearly 5000 books. For the most part, it served as a Masonic lodge after that, but had stints as a kindergarten, a teen club and a Scout hall.

Of late it seems it actually has 'gone out of service.' It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is probably the oldest unaltered structure in Monroe County. The building has stood for 140 years. I hope some new use and attention are in store for it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Keo United Methodist

Built in 1909.
Photo taken in 2009, the day before Easter.
church web site

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mena tornados

No picture today. Just prayers for the people of Mena.

While loss of life is the most devastating result in the wake of the storm, at least three churches were damaged or destroyed as well. They are First Presbyterian, First Baptist and St. Agnes Catholic Church. Please consider helping these congregations rebuild.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

St. John's Episcopal, Helena

While working on Temple Beth El, I happened to glance across the street and saw four of these guys jutting out from the tower atop St. John's Episcopal. I can't recall seeing gargoyles on any Arkansas church before.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Temple Beth El, Helena

Like Helena in general, the Jewish population of the town has seen better days. When the members of Congregation Beth El reluctantly voted to disband three years ago due to their dwindling numbers, the synagogue they built in 1916 was donated to the city for use as a cultural arts center.

That conversion is now underway. A stage is being built and a geothermal heating and cooling system is being installed. (I have been re-glazing windows here this week for C/M Restoration, just one of the companies involved in the conversion.) When the work is complete, Helena will have a new performance venue that will be mindful of its past. You can read more about that past here.

I lay on the floor between pews to get as much of the stained glass domed skylight in the picture as possible. Still doesn't quite fit.