Akron Churches: Early Architecture (Images of America: Ohio)
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The history of Akron begins with the building of the great Ohio and Erie Canal. The financial incentives offered to workers building the canal brought men from all over to build the great "ditch," and as they and their families settled in Akron, they also began to build magnificent churches and cathedrals that became the heart of their communities. With roots stretching back to the early 1800s, many of the churches that stand today are more than a century old and in many instances are the second or third church to be built by their congregations. Each successive church more grand than the last, these edifices were literally built with the pennies, nickels, and dimes of their members, who built structures that reflected the prevailing architectural styles of the day. Many of the churches have been lost to time, but many of these architectural treasures remain and continue to stand as testament to the overwhelming desire of the faithful to build churches that reflect the glory of God.
reveals, cavernous door openings, and, occasionally, bands of windows were sometimes defined by a contrasting color or texture of stone or by short, robust columns. In the best examples, a single tower, massive and bold in outline, crowns the ensemble. Perhaps the single most common quality of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture is its heavy, fortresslike form. Richardson’s massive load-bearing masonry walls were often rough-cut, or rusticated, which added to the perceived weight of the
72-foot-by-88-foot stone parish and Sunday school was built for $35,000. The cornerstone was laid on May 28, 1884, and dedicated on January 6, 1885. The High Street church was sold in 1885 to a Jewish congregation and turned into a synagogue. (Courtesy Akron-Summit County Public Library.) As described by the Summit County Beacon, the Victorian Gothic building designed by Akron architect Jacob Snyder “is constructed of native Ohio sandstone laid in regular rock-faced courses ending at finely-cut
in Mattie Leib’s vacant grocery store on York Street, but after only two months, its first church was built. The congregation remained there only three years; growth required the building of a new church, this time of brick. On June 21, 1893, the cornerstone was laid for the church’s new building on the corner of Howard and York Streets and the old church sold to the fire department for a North Hill station. Dedicated on May 18, 1894, the church remained the congregation’s home until the
church of in [sic] the city and by very few of the size in the State.” Going on to praise the “handsome and commodious” building, the newspaper observed that for the occasion while only 100 persons from both Cleveland and Massillon were expected to attend, instead 398 passengers arrived from Massillon and 450 from Cleveland, including a brass band. At 9:30 a.m., the attendees gathered in the old church and heard a sermon preached in German by Rev. Peter J. Buehl. Afterward the crowd of 1,200 to
interior of the first church around 1896. The King’s Daughters was responsible for taking care of the altar and distributing flowers to the sick. The group disbanded in 1904 and was replaced by the Altar Guild, which took care of the new altar purchased by the Luther League, along with the baptismal font and choir vestments. Easter is being celebrated here in the old church. According to Heritage, the church was plagued by problems big and little, including “repairing the parsonage stable,