Thursday, May 26, 2016

Landmarks in the City: First English Lutheran Church (1911)

Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911.  Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2007.
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911. Bell tower. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.

Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911. Interior. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016. 
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911. Interior. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.
Landmarks in the City: First English Lutheran Church  (1911)
by Samuel D. Gruber

This summer, I'll be posting about some of the many landmarks in Syracuse and Onondaga County. These are buildings that have been recognized for their architectural, artistic or historic value and designated by the city as Local Protected Sites or placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. One of these places is the lovely First English Lutheran Church at 501 James Street, just at the northeastern edge of Downtown. It was listed  on the National Register in 1998 

Designed by leading Syracuse architect Archimedes Russell and his young partner, Melvin King, This and the near-contemporary (and very different) Saint Anthony of Padua Church on West Colvin Street were Russell's last ecclesiastical commissions. Russell had designed many important churches throughout the region, mostly as free interpretations of historicist styles - primarily variations on Romanesque and Gothic designs. King almost certainly contributed to this design and he would soon take over the firm from the aged and ailing Russell (he died in 1915 and king took over the firm).

Groundbreaking  for the new building took place on April 18, 1910. The first service was held in the church on June 18, 1911.  The beige sandstone church is striking from the outside for its incorporation of Mission style elements and Arts & Crafts detailing. Most notable is its unusual bell tower, flanked by lower towers, all topped with pyramidal red tile roofs.

Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911. Interior. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.
Inside, the church is very spare. the Post-Standard (June 19, 1911) gushed at the time of its opening of its brilliantly lighted auditorium with large balcony. The wide spacious feel, accented by a series of colorful stained glass memorial windows made by the Haskins Art Glass Co. of Rochester,  a firm owned and operated by George Haskins, who some speculate has previously worked for Tiffany.  The company started  in 1890 as W. M. Page & Co. In 1893 it became Parkes, Collyer & Stacy before becoming Haskins & Collyer in 1895. In 1904 it became Haskins Art Glass.  


 Add for Haskins window from Baptist Yearbook (1919)

Haskins worked predominately in opalescent glass. In the main sanctuary these include two large cathedral glass windows, the immediate left and right after entering. These are arranged in geometric and architectural designs into which are inserted art glass busts of handsome heads, which may have come from the congregation previous church and been reused.  Four other big windows are multi-section biblical scenes and landscapes made of opalescent glass.

One more big window is in the facade beneath the main tower. inside seen in the choir balcony, and this represent the Annunciation to the Shepherds (in memory of Christian and Katherine Cook). The colors of this window are very vivid.

Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911. Interior. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church., 1911. Interior. Cook Memorial Window; Annunciation to the Shepherds. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church., 1911. Interior. Cook Memorial Window; Annunciation to the Shepherds. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911. Interior, cathedral glass, east wall. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church., 1911. Interior, cathedral glass, east wall. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.

Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  head inserted into cathedral glass, east wall. It is thought that this head and another in a window opposite may have been brought from the congregation's previous building on Salina Street, and reused here. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.

Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  west wall. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  west wall. Ruth and Naomi window. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  view to west wall. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  west wall. Ruth and Naomi window (Whither thou goest, I will go"). Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  east wall. "Suffer little children to come unto me" window. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  east wall. "Suffer little children to come unto me" window. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  east wall. Good shepherd window. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  east wall. Good shepherd window. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  east wall. Charles L. Amos memorial window. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  east wall. Charles L. Amos memorial window, Church Triumphant. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church, 1911. Interior,  east wall. Charles L. Amos memorial window, Church Militant. Haskins Art Glass Co, Rochester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Ward Wellington Ward Arts & Crafts Houses at East Genesee and Allen Streets


Syracuse, NY. 2201 and 2205 East Genesee Street. Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1919, 1923). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

The Beautiful Ward Wellington Ward Arts & Crafts Houses at East Genesee and Allen Streets
by Samuel D. Gruber

I've written about houses designed by noted Arts & Crafts architect Ward Wellington Ward on this blog before and there are so many in the city and environs that I could fill many more posts extolling their beauty - sometimes simple; often complex. In my walking tours that I have given for the Westcott Neighborhood Association I have pointed out many of these houses, and many of the tours are being posted online - in much expanded versions.

One set of houses includes two impressive "manor house" designs on East Genesee Street at Allen Street, and there are two more modest Ward houses just a half block away on the 300 block of Allen Street.  Three of the houses have west facing facades, so any sunny afternoon is a fine time to take walk to view them.

The two substantial side-by-side houses at #2201 and #2205 East Genesee Street were built in 1919 and 1923 on part of the Pennock tract, land developed by James Pennock who built his own house across East Genesee Street.  Pennock developed the nearby blocks of Allen Street in the years just after 1900.

Syracuse, NY. 2201 East Genesee Street (Frank Collins house). Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1919). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

#2201, the Frank Collins House

Closest to Allen Street is #2201, an  impressive structure built as a new residence for Mr. And Mrs. Frank Collins. Collins, who was owner of the F. P. Collins Paint Co., was a previous client of Ward, the architect having designed a house at 423 Euclid Avenue. This new house on East Genesee is bigger, more ornate, and on what was in 1919, a more prominent location. 

Collins was born in Ireland and came to America in 1878. After settling in Rochester he came to Syracuse in 1890, where he established the paint business with his three sons, William E., John Emmett and Francis Chilton.

Though the house faces East Genesee Street, the main entrance is from the 300 block of Allen Street, where Ward design two others houses, too.  The two-story side-gabled Collins house has two cross gables on the Allen Street facade. It is predominately Tudor Revival in style with many of Ward’s distinctive Arts & Crafts details. Notable exterior features include half-timbering in the gables, inset tiles in the brick facing and front stoop, and twenty-one pieces of stained glass from the Keck Studio throughout the house.  The house has a structural system of brick and hollow tile supported by a concrete foundation. the roof is slate. The biggest change to the original house is that the south-facing porch has been enclosed.

Syracuse, NY. 2201 East Genesee Street (Frank Collins house). Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1919). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

Syracuse, NY. 2201 East Genesee Street (Frank Collins house). Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1919). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

Inside, in addition to the stained glass windows, the house is notable for its superb Mercer Tiles around the fireplace, decorative living room floor, and many original finishes. Frank Collins who was himself a professional in providing home finishing materials, wrote to the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in Doylestown Pennsylvania for “something which is better than ever set up in Syracuse before.” The resulting tiles represent various seasons and trades.

There is a front-gabled garage clad in stucco with half-timbering. The garage has a chimney, as was often the case in Ward-designed garages, indicating that it was heated in winter. The doors are replacements, but other wise the structure is original.

The earlier Collins house was illustrated in a self-published monograph Ward issued of his work and Collins took out a full page ad in the back of the book, stating that “all of the beautiful residences illustrated in the brochure are finished with Pratt & Lambert Varnishes and painted with Lawrence Paints sold exclusively by F. P. Collins Paint Company.”

#2205, Kelly-Weiskotten House
Syracuse, NY. 2205 East Genesee Street (Kelly-Weiskotten house). Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1923). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

Syracuse, NY. 2205 East Genesee Street (Kelly-Weiskotten house). Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1923). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

Syracuse, NY. 2205 East Genesee Street (Kelly-Weiskotten house). Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1923). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

For the lot next door to the Collins house Ward designed a house in 1922 for restaurateur John Kelley. Kelly sold the house two years later to Dr. Herman Weiskotten, Dean of the Syracuse University College of Medicine and after whom Weiskotten Hall is named. The house is distinctive for the English cottage appearance of the exterior and inside for the Mercer tile fireplace and foyer, leaded glass bookcases, stained glass windows and built-in cabinets and closets. The garage was added to the house three years after its completion is was probably not designed by Ward but it is in a comparable style.

Upstate Medical University's Weiskotten Hall is now named in honor of the former Dean.  In September 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt lay the cornerstone for the medical school building with Weiskotten at his side.  In 2013 an historical marker was placed on the site recalling Roosevelt's visit. Here's how the event was reported in the Syracuse Herald in 1936.

Around the corner from the Collins house, on the 300 block of Allen Street, are two more Ward houses, both smaller, and more intimate and cottage-like.
Syracuse, NY.  301-309 Allen  Street. Ward Wellington Ward, architect. Photo: Some Recent Work  [Ward Wellington Ward]. Undated [c. 1920]

  
 Photo: Some Recent Work  [Ward Wellington Ward]. Undated [c. 1920]

The origins of these houses is uncertain; whether they were speculative or built for specific clients. The houses were featured in Ward's self-published album of his work from the 1920s and they were identified with the then-occupants but they were not featured houses, but included in an add for Kelsey air Generators that appeared in the back of the book.

The Roy Carpenter house at 309 Allen Street is an early work and is a variant on the then popular Craftsman-style bungalow, a small cottage-like side gable and entrance house. A full second story expressed as a substantial dormer protruding from a steep roof. Many similar houses can be seen on Sumner, Strong, Roosevelt and other avenue, all built about the same time.  In the case of the Carpenter house, the roof is of the gambrel type. there is a full porch front in the street. A tall plaster chimney with brick or tile ornament is the most distinctive exterior element. The original open parapet rail atop the front porch has been removed, but otherwise the house looks much like it did when it was built.

Next door, at #301, the William McKee house is a little different. It has a more unusual roof - but of type familiar in Ward houses.  The roof begins as a hipped roof but as it rises it transitions into a side gable roof.  Also the horizontal eaves on all sides of the houses are frequently broken by raised angled gable like elements, filed with vertical half-timber segments, giving a lively rhythm and texture to the house. Most of the exterior of the house is covered with a flat plaster surface, providing a modernist touch on this Arts & Crafts House.

Syracuse, NY. 309 Allen Street (Roy Carpenter House)
Ward Wellington Ward, architect. (1912). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber.

 
Syracuse, NY.  301 Allen  Street (William McKee House). Ward Wellington Ward, architect. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber

Sources: 

Carlson, Richard. “Collins Residence, 2201 East Genesee Street. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form,” (1996)

Carlson, Richard. “Kelly Residence, 2205 East Genesee Street. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form,” (1996) 

Reed, Cleota, Henry Chapman Mercer and the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987).
 
Some Recent Work  [Ward Wellington Ward]. Undated [c. 1920].