Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Avalon United Presbyterian Church

Camera: Samsung Digimax V4.

This splendid building was put up in about 1906 (Update: It was in the planning stages at the end of 1906; see the end of this article.) It has not been used as a church for about a quarter-century, but it is still kept scrupulously beautiful by the current owners. Compare Father Pitt’s photograph above with the old postcard below, printed when the church was very new (to judge by the utter lack of bushes or other landscaping).

The style is interesting: old Pa Pitt might almost call it Richardsonian Gothic. It has the heaviness of the Romanesque style that Richardson was famous for, but with pointed arches—only just barely pointed, however, as if they are a little embarrassed about being caught in their Gothicness.

Addendum: The architects were Allison & Allison. Source: The American Architect and Building News, December 1, 1906: “Avalon, Pa.—Architects Allison & Allison, Westinghouse Building, Pittsburg, have prepared plans for a stone church for the U. P. congregation, Avalon. Address the architects.” Now a private home, but beautifully kept.

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2 responses to “Avalon United Presbyterian Church”

  1. The Avalon United Presbyterian Church is a fine example of Hummelstown brownstone masonry. During the Gilded Age, when brownstone was a favored masonry material, the pits near Hummelstown in Dauphin Co. became Pennsylvania’s premiere operation. About two years ago the Hummelstown Area Historical Society published a history of the Hummelstown Brownstone Industry through the aegis of Lulu. This book can be viewed at this site: http://www.lulu.com/shop/ben-olena/the-hummelstown-brownstone-industry/paperback/product-22977226.html You should be interested in this publication in that it describes much about the source of the stone in your building. Best regards, Ben Olena

  2. A website called Wikimapia.org describes this place thus:
    “Brownstone Gothic Revival church built circa 1906. In 1990 the building was purchased by a Mr. and Mrs. Nakles, who set up two businesses here: an antiques store and a porcelain doll making shop. As of 2010, the couple are still recorded as the owners, though the building’s current use is unclear.”

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