Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Calvert Memorial Presbyterian Church, Etna

Calvert Memorial Presbyterian Church

This beautiful little Romanesque church is one of our few remaining black stone churches; some day the stones may be cleaned, and the church will lose some of its character. It was built in the early 1900s—the land was purchased in 1906(1)—and it has remained more or less the same since then, as we can see from an old postcard view.

Old postcard of First U. P. Church, Etna
Modern view

The church was originally the First United Presbyterian Church of Etna; in 1918 it was renamed after the beloved founding pastor. A lush growth of utility cables mars this view, but the picture demonstrates a curious property of the tower: it has the ability to look taller or shorter than the main roof, depending on the angle of view.

Composite view
From the side

The steeply pitched roof and tiny triangular dormers remind us more than a little of H. H. Richardson’s Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Allegheny West:

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

We can be fairly sure the resemblance was intentional, since Richardson was still, twenty years after his death, by far the most famous architect in the Romanesque idiom. Note the buttresses on the Etna church, which Emmanuel lacks. That may also be a lesson learned from Richardson: the bulging walls of his Emmanuel Episcopal were not intended.

Calvert Memorial Presbyterian Church


See a random picture
and become a better person

You could buy this book
if you wanted a book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *