Sunday, January 11, 2009

Church on Sunday: Full moon

Manly Memorial Baptist Church at dusk; corner of Main and Preston streets.

"Manly" does not refer to the character of the congregation (though I wouldn't like to rule it out), but to the church's early 20th C. namesake. Formerly Lexington Baptist, it became"Manly Memorial" in honor of Dr. Charles Manly, pastor from 1903-1914. (The church's website states that in his day he was known as the "most universally beloved man in Lexington.")

The present church was built in 1920, in a rather eclectic style. In addition to the dome, Ionic capitals (above smooth, unfluted columns), and heavy, dentiled cornices, there is an impressive amount of contemporary stained glass in soft, opalescent colors -- greens, blue-greens, warm browns, lavenders and pinks -- that make a strange and interesting contrast to the brick and the many classical references.

Here is an example:

It's a very American ("Rules? -- what rules?") structure that, not surprisingly, also appears to take inspiration from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (located about 56 miles [91 km] NE of Lexington, as the crow flies).

9 comments:

Tanya said...

It's gorgeous! Puts those strip mall churches to shame!

Clueless in boston said...

Beautiful building. It must have a very large congregation to support such a magnificent structure.

Greg Dimitriadis said...

Nice pictures. Are the bricks real? I've been often disappointed by buildings in the US that look as if they're made of bricks but in fact they're wooden with a brick effect finish... The most extreme example of this I ever saw was a byzantine-style orthodox church in Ohio.

Per Stromsjo said...

This is something I appreciate about this season - transparency. You can have a big tree in the foreground without obscuring that church.

Peter said...

You already said it... it's really a very typical - nice - North American architecture!

mkhansen said...

Greg - I'm afraid I can't say for sure that it's true brick construction. (If it were built before WWI, I'd say most probably.) I'd have to look more closely at the door and window surrounds. I know what you mean about brick veneer, though. It just gets worse and worse. Brick has long been the traditional building material throughout much of the southeast US; so, unfortunately, you find many recent "traditional" houses that have a thin brick veneer on the front, and vinyl siding on the sides and back. I don't know who they think they're fooling!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

The church in the first photograph looks like the one in "Back to The Future" movie. I don't recall the movie much, but the building used for the time-machine electricity connection (by the old man) looks exactly the same I believe. Is it the same one?

mkhansen said...

Bhavesh - I've never heard about any scenes from "Back to the Future" being shot in Lexington. (I have heard about scenes from "Sommersby" and "Gods and Generals," so I expect any association with such a popular movie would have gotten around.) This style of architecture was not uncommon in the States in the 1920's, and many examples can be found in the midwest. (If I recall, didn't that movie have a midwest setting?) I can certainly believe it was similar to this church, though.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Thanks for your reply mkhansen. You're right; the movie had a midwest kind of a setting, and it must be that the architecture was similar. Well, great photographs however.