St. Mark's United Methodist Church
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
THE ARCHITECTURAL PLANS
The building plans of the Woodland Church for the Pecore property were discarded. A building committee, composed of three steering committee members from each church, met for the first time on February 11, 1938. At this time a group of architects made oral presentations -
1. James Ira Campbell, representing Campbell & Keller
2. J.W. Northrop, Jr.
3. W.A. McElroy
4. Fred W. Heidbreder, representing Swenson, Heidbreder & Bush
5. T. Ray Aynesworth and R.A. Evans, the partners of Aynesworth & Ervine
6. James Ruskin Bailey
7. Harvin C. Moore, representing Moore & Lloyd
After the presentations, the architects retired from the meeting room and the committee voted to eliminate all except the last three from consideration. At the February 16, 1938 meeting of the committee further discussion was held with the three remaining architects resulting in the elimination of Aynesworth & Ervine. Further scrutiny determined, “the consensus of opinion held that Mr. Bailey was best qualified
to undertake the architectural work and on motion of Rev. Leifeste, seconded by Mr. Walton, and duly carried, the committee selected Mr. Bailey to be recommended to the steering committee for employment.”
At a meeting of the steering committee on March 15, 1938, Mr. Bailey “presented a new elevation of the building which brought lavish praise from all members of the committee present. He displayed and explained floor plans in which he had incorporated ideas and suggestions from Sunday School department heads.” Mr. Bailey gave a contractor’s base estimate for an entire fireproof building at $88,625.
At that time the land owned by the church extended through the block between Pecore and Redan Streets, fronting 212 feet on Pecore and 130 feet on Redan. Mr. Bailey described the plans as follows -
“The building will front on Pecore and set back 35 feet from the sidewalk and will be built in the form of an “L,” extending toward Redan Street. The building will be Gothic in design, and will be constructed of concrete, steel, brick and stone. Split Texas limestone will be used on the exterior. A slate roof is called for in the plans. The educational building will be three stories high with the first or ground floor partly below grade. In this building modern Sunday School facilities will be provided for nearly 800 children and adults. The main church auditorium will be one story and have a balcony with a total seating capacity of approximately 600.”
The plan for “the Gothic-style structure designed by Mr. Bailey was pronounced by those who studied them to be a masterpiece, a gem of noble architecture, that will compare with others, however costly, in the nation. The very stones of the beautiful structure sill preach sermons to those who see them.” This was the description of the church as reported in The Houston Times.
The beauty of the building was acknowledged after its construction. In the minutes of the official board meeting on October 15, 1940, page 48, is this entry -
“A congregation in Bay City wishes to build a church and copy our auditorium. They had asked the use of our plans. Mr. Mason stated that these plans are not ours but Mr. Bailey’s and that we had no right to loan them. Mr. Dennard moved that we give the men wanting the plans every assistance possible, but not let them have the plans. Motion carried.”
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Architect James R. Bailey’s rendering of the northern elevation of the newly-planned St. Mark’s church building.
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Please notice all the present parking lot and land on which the children’s building is situated was not owned at the time this plot plan was developed.
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St. Mark’s original floor plans