- Boston Avenue Methodist Church
Infobox_nrhp | name =Boston Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, South
location= 1301 South Boston Ave., Tulsa,
lat_degrees = 36
lat_minutes = 8
lat_seconds = 38
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 95
long_minutes = 59
long_seconds = 4
long_direction = W
locmapin = Oklahoma
Bruce Goff; Adah Robinson
January 20, 1999cite web|url=http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=682329743&ResourceType=Building
title=Boston Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, South |accessdate=2008-01-18|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service]
August 31, 1978cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
governing_body = Private
The Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, located in downtown
Tulsa, Oklahomaand completed in 1929, is considered to be one of the finest examples of ecclesiastical Art Decoarchitecture in the United States, and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designated a National Historic Landmarkin 1999.citation|title=PDFlink| [http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Text/78002270.pdf National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Bostan Avenue Methodist Church, South (TEXT CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE)] |32 KB|date=1999 |author=Author unavailable |publisher=National Park Service and PDFlink| [http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Photos/78002270.pdf "Accompanying 21 photos, exterior and interior, from 1998. (AVAILABLE)"] |2.27 MiB ]
The design of the US$1.25 million edifice is credited to two individuals:
Adah Robinsonand Bruce Goff. Robinson was an art teacher at Central High School in Tulsa, and eventually was chair of the art department in the University of Tulsa. Robinson sketched the original ideas for the church. Bruce Goff, formerly one of her high school students, and the architect in 1924-1926 of her home and studio, then took the sketches and came up with the design for the church. Officially, the architecture firm credited is Rush, Endacott and Rushwhere Goff apprenticed (from age 12 and became a partner in 1930). There is still some debate over who was more responsible for the building. The church credits Adah Robinson with the design of this building, while Goff experts maintain that it is clearly his design. The definitive book on the subject, "Tulsa Art Deco" [see References, below] says of that issue that "it is not the purpose of this book to offer a resolution to that controversy."
The original building consisted of a semicircular auditorium, a soaring 225-foot (68.5 m) tower, and awing containing class rooms.. The soaring straight lines of the tower provide physical, visual, and philosophical linkage to the Gothic Cathedrals of past ages as well as allowing the designers to indulge in the Art Deco celebration of the vertical.
At the top of the tower, as well as on many of the other high points and used much in the same manner that churches in the Middle Ages utilized crockets and finials, is a stylized sculpture that represents two hands raised upward in prayer. This motif of praying hands is one that is echoed through out the building and is one of the areas of design that can be traced back to the early drawings by Robinson.
While the building is in many ways unique, the idea of the large, semi-circular main auditorium has an earlier precursor in another Methodist church,
Louis Sullivan's St. Paul's Methodist Church, designed in 1910 and built, somewhat modified, in Cedar Rapids, Iowain 1914.
Like many Art Deco buildings the Boston Avenue Church reveled in the use of various different building materials, so metal, glass, terra cotta, Indiana limestone and Minnesota granite can all be found. The exterior is decorated with numerous terra cotta sculptures by the Denver sculptor,
Robert Garrison, who had been a student of Adah Robinson's in Oklahoma City. These sculptures include several groups of people at prayer representing Spiritual life, Religious Education and Worship. In these groups again can be found the two hands together motif.
Above the south entrance are the equestrian Circuit Riders, statues of the early Methodists engaged in spreading the Good Word. Two of the three riders represent historic individuals, Bishop
Francis Asbury, the first American Methodist bishop and Bishop William McKendrie, while the third figure, the one in the center, is symbolic of all the other men of God who did His bidding from horseback. The face one this rider was created by Garrison using the church minister's father-in-Law, the Rev. T.L. Darnell, of as his model. Rev. Darnell had in fact been a circuit rider for a half a century. Over the north entrance of the building there can be found idealized statues of John Wesleyhis brother Charles Wesleyand Susanna Wesley, their mother. Other places on the exterior reveal classic art deco styles organic plant designs, which. like the stained glass windows were based on designs drawn from Oklahoma flora, most notably the tritomasand coreopsisflowers.
The building was not long in making an impression on the architectural world. Influential art critic of the day,
Sheldon Chaney, allows it 5 pictures in his book [see References. below] and praises it saying that, "its detail is daringly new, its ornamental idioms fresh and vital, its masses fairly well sculpted and perfectly expressive of the plan," and adding, "But why for the Methodists?"
In 1978 the building was listed on the
National Register of Historic Placesand was designated as a National Historic Landmarkin 1999.
In 1993, murals were installed on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the congregation. They were designed by Chicago artist
Angelo Gherardiwho continued the Art Deco design to be consistent with the building's interior and exterior design.
The construction of a
Columbariuminside the building was completed in 2000. Designed by Tulsa architect Roger Coffey, it allowed for the cremainsof church members and their immediate family members to be interned there. The columbarium contains a 6 foot by 25 foot cut glass window created by Richard Bohm of the Tulsa Stained Glass company.
A stone from the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church is one of the stones embedded in the walls of the
Chicago Tribune Building, along with over 100 others picked from historic buildings and famous sites from around the world.
The Boston Avenue Church contains a 105 rank Möller
pipe organ, dedicated in 1962 at 72 playable ranks of pipes and expanded in 1986. The organ was further modified in 1995 by Daniel Angerstein. In 1999 a new Trompette-en-chamade was added.
A complete stoplist for the organ can be found at [http://www.bostonavenue.org/uploads/955.pdf The Organ Page for the Boston Avenue Church] .
* Breeze, Carla, "American Art Deco: Architecture and Regionalism", W.W. Norton & Company, New York 2003
* Chaney, Sheldon, "The New World Architecture", Tudor Publishing Company, New York 1935
* Harris, Jo Beth, "More Than Just a Building: The First Century of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church", Council Oak Publishing Company, Tulsa, Oklahoma 1993
* Junior League of Tulsa, , David Halpern, photographs, "Tulsa Art Deco", Junior League of Tulsa, Inc., Tulsa Oklahoma 1980
* Junior League of Tulsa, , David Halpern, photographs, "Tulsa Art Deco", First revised Edition, Junior League of Tulsa, Inc., Tulsa Oklahoma 2001
* Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, "Architectural Sculpture in America", unpublished manuscript
* "The Columbarium at Boston Avenue Church", pamphlet published by the Boston Avenue Church United Methodist
* "Tribune Tower: the Story of the Tower", Chicago Tribune 1968
* [http://www.bostonavenue.org/ Boston Avenue]
* [http://tulsapreservationcommission.org/nationalregister/buildings/index.pl?id=7 Boston Avenue Methodist Church listing, Tulsa Preservation Commission website]
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