A Preview for Tonight: The Chillicothe Christmas Church Tour 2021

A Photo Essay of Last Year’s Holiday Religious Tour

If you haven’t decided on tonight’s 2022 church tour, consider my snapshots from 2021…which I neglected to post until now.

We started at St. Peter Catholic Church, the 1949 Modernistic-Gothic replacement of the 1845 Gothic Revival (whose toppling spire was caught in a series of snapshots by a neighbor when the church went up in flames).
The exterior almost has more in common with mid-century skyscrapers than churches, with the soaring semi-abstract details. I think this is Indiana limestone, which was used to cover the Empire State Building. (And the cut and surface treatment of the stone is much like the 1940 Gazette Building, another prominent modernistic Chillicothean.)
Stacks of stained glass in columns of windows.
We gathered under the oddly shaped lamps, watched over by modernistic rough-sculpted statuary. (The stations of the cross were either somehow saved from the 1947 fire, or are exact replacements of those visible in post-fire photos.)
Pete was here.
The altar painting was added a few years ago, and the dais was renovated into a more traditional platform – with the choir returned to the loft…
…From which they provided music that indirectly filled the sanctuary.
Next was Walnut Street Methodist, the 1903 Richardsonian Romanesque landmark on West Main.
Young Jesus was teaching in the temple as we walked by…
…To the side door. A later generation made a decent effort to bridge the transition from post-Victorian fortress to modernistic minimalism.
The church is in the “Akron Plan,” with a circular (octagonal) sanctuary that has classrooms on one side that can be opened up for extra seating. Here, the pipe organ and a window occupy two of the eight sides.
Above the small faint star of Bethlehem is a stained glass dome with classical patterns.
And above the octagonal dome is a lantern (not cupola) that protects it but allows in light…when it’s not illuminated by lights.
We departed through the front porch, with its triple arcade of heavy circular Roman arches.
Then, on to 1896 First Baptist on West Fourth.
The bright interior has an understated pressed metal ceiling.
Birdlike quatrefoils fill space above the grouped lancet windows.
Local African-American historian Beverly Gray spoke.
The Good Shepherd is filled with light from the inside. (“Alpha” and “Omega” occupy the birdlike quatrefoils.)
The Mighty Children’s Museum added color and light…
…And St. Mary Catholic teases us as we continue to…
…First Wesleyan on South Mulberry.
A bluegrass band performed for us in the sanctuary in the major addition.
The first floor of the original 1840s Greek Revival church is for children now.
On the way to our last stop, the former Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast on West 5th added holiday cheer. (It’s for sale if you want a basement greenhouse.)
St. Mary Catholic loomed up as our last stop. In 1867 it was designed as the tallest tower in town.
On display in the foyer is a model of the church, I believe from the 1860s.
Renovated a few years ago, the interior has regained much of its color.
Various details of the restored early high Victorian paint are visible around a side chapel housing the eucharist.
A view up from the side aisle.
Looking back to the choir loft.
Mom is still watching over, in her oversized painting anchored by large iron brackets.
We were given farewell (and greeted) by a brass band, then allowed to find our own way back to our vehicles.
On the way back, the decorated Ross County Courthouse caught my eye…
…Not a church, but sharing the same origin: a classical temple.

…Amen!

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