As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am on a quest to search out parts of Baltimore where I’ve never been. So, I am taking the back way home, turning left instead of right and carrying around the Guide to Baltimore Architecture in my car. But with all of that, I still make unexpected discoveries.
As I was returning from a Sunday brunch overlooking Baltimore’s harbour, I decided to take an alternate route back to my house. I wound my way through one of Baltimore’s many parks and came out on the other side. In the near distance, something caught my eye, so I took a couple of turns and came across a mid-century modern church that was such an anomaly in the area that it made me gasp!
I hated that there were phone lines across the view, so I drove around the block to check out the other side of the building. On this side, it’s about one level higher than on the other side. And there’s a building attached to the side which was originally separate, but is now connected.
Luckily, church was just getting out, and when the pastor saw me taking pictures, he beckoned me over. I asked him about the history, but he only knew that it had been built in the early 1960’s. Allegedly, an “Indian” woman who lived in the area gave the funds to build the church, but wanted it in the shape of a teepee. Hard to believe that’s true.
The interior is wood, with sweeping vertical beams. The interior is amazingly intact, which was a surprise, since many buildings of this era have been sliced and diced, and all of the original details have been destroyed. There are some windows that have been filled in, but that’s easily corrected. The skills needed to build a structure like this are incredible, especially with the ribbing and the wood cladding.
The pastor told me that the church could hold 1,500 people, but I am a bit doubtful of that claim. Maybe 500, if people squish together…
The odd thing about this church is that I can’t find ANY information about it. I know it was constructed in the early 1960’s, but can find nothing about the architect, or the original congregation. Someone told me that their dentist had an office in the adjacent building. Someone else said that it might have been a Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the original pastor came from Kansas where Frank Lloyd Wright designed a church which was supposed to look like this, but which was never built. I’ve asked all of my architect and architecture-groupie friends, and no one seems to have any information about it. Do you???