Shadyside's Second Cousins
We have examined
St James's Episcopal Church, Cambridge, MA (1)
Perhaps it is not
surprising to find one of the most successful lantern churches within five
miles of Trinity. St.
James’s Episcopal was built in 1888 for a
The architect, Henry
Congdon, was talented and influential through a long career.
Here, he shows an uncommon grasp of
St James's (left), Trinity Church Boston (right) (4)
James’s lantern tower is its dominant feature, but it is not the
totality of the church to the degree of the Trinity and Shadyside
lanterns. The exterior
treatment expands upon the polychromy of Trinity by use of multi-hued
James's (left), Shadyside (right)
“battered” (that is, slope-sided) lower tower is topped by the window
arcades, stepped in with a sharp contrast of material.
The pyramid shaped roof is “sprung” (curved outward) at its
lower edges – another picturesque touch seen two years later at
Shadyside. A tenet of the Arts
and Crafts movement is honesty of construction.
At St James’s, the interior of the tower faithfully reflects its
exterior shape (more than at Trinity).
The lantern’s smaller proportional size clearly leads to a
contrast in lighting with Shadyside. The
source of light is markedly more localized and its passage through the
darker, narrower lower tower imparts a more ethereal effect.
This shape and the exposed wooden construction evoke a Norwegian
St James's (left), Shadyside (right)
importance of this structure is recognized in the application
for landmark designation by the Cambridge Historical Commission.
This active church, with a history of more than 140 years, has
undertaken efforts to preserve its building.
While St James’s
made allusion to the Shingle Style, the
Shingle Style House, Pittsburgh
residential style, it wrapped rambling structures in wooden shingles
without sharp terminations at the intersections of wall planes.
A number of churches used this technique, often departing from the
Colonial inspiration normally found in houses for massing and details.
Shingle Style Church, Massachusetts
The photograph of the
church (below) makes it appear massive.
The clues to scale - a man on the sidewalk and adjacent buildings -
reveal a compact structure. Despite
the proportionally large lantern, the interior effect was apparently
cramped. Coxhead’s friend,
artist Ernest Peixotto described the interior as evoking a sense “like
Gulliver in the land of the Lilliputians.”
Church of St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco (2)
interior was not true to the exterior shape of the tower.
This led to an inefficient and confusing path for light into the
sanctuary. Another criticism
was that, like Shadyside, some seats in the transepts did not have a view
of the Table in the chancel. However,
First Congregational Church, Colorado Springs (3)
For one who has
studied lantern churches, the initial impression of First Congregational
This 1889 church was
a collaboration of Henry Rutgers Marshall (a competent
It is not clear why
the proliferation of lantern churches waited a decade after the successful
Email you comments & questions
also Shadyside's Sisters
(1) Photographs of St. James's Church were generously provided by Laine Walters
(2) Richard Longstreth, On the Edge of the World, Univ. of California Press, 1983
(3) Robert Winter & Alexander Vertikoff, Craftsman Style, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2004
(4) Photo by Mary Ann Sullivan http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/index/index.html