Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Seventh Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati

drawing by Jesse or Charles Halsey c1927

The Seventh Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, is pleasantly located on the west side of Broadway, between Fourth and Fifth Streets.

It is 68 feet wide in front, by 115 in depth, exclusive of a Lecture room in the rear 40 by 68 feet.

The internal arrangement is peculiar, at least in this section of the country. The Church and Lecture room being upon the same floor, no basement is necessary, whilst the apartments are rendered vastly more elegant, cheerful, and convenient.

The style of architecture is “Gothic.” The front, which is built of the finest freestone, beautifully dressed, is divided by the tower into three parts, each of which contains a spacious doorway, opening into its corresponding vestibule, and thence into the several aisles of the Church.

The tower is 145 feet high, divided, as is usual with Gothic churches, into entrance, organ, clock, and belfry sections. It is finished with boldly projecting angular buttresses, which diminish in offsets as they ascend, and are terminated with highly enriched pinnacles.

The belfry windows are coupled with slender heptagonal shafts running up between each, also furnished with carved summits. This section, with its long, narrow windows, its richly ornamented cornice, deeply paneled battlements, and various pinnacles shooting their slender spires far above the roof, is probably not surpassed for richness and beauty by anything of the kind in the United States—certainly not in the west.

The interior of the Church is high a spacious. Fine large windows, filled with colored glass, abundantly light the apartment, which at night is illuminated by a superb chandelier of original design and chaste workmanship.

The ceiling is composed of intersecting arches, which, springing from pendants between the windows, spread themselves in a fan-like form towards the centre of the room, where they gradually die away with a peculiarly light and pleasing effect. Foliated enrichments, corresponding with the style, are introduced, where the ribs intersect or meet, thus relieving the plainness of the ceiling, without marring its simplicity or offending the eye by an appearance of trifling ornament.

The pulpit, choir, gallery, and pews, are perfectly original and exceedingly elaborate, both in mouldings and carved work. The gallery is one of the most costly and imaginate specimens of its kind anywhere to be seen; while the pulpit, with its fine rerados, is scarcely a whit inferior. The pews are also of a beautiful design and unusually large.

The Lecture Room, immediately at the rear of the Church, is a plain, substantial building. The principal apartment is light, pleasant and convenient. In the second story are rooms for the Pastor’s study, Session, Trustees, Ladies’ Missionary Society, Sexton’s residence, etc.

Throughout the whole Church edifice, there prevails a spirit of elegance, simplicity, and comfort, that will ever preserve its popularity as a place of worship.

The edifice was solemnly dedicated to the worship of Almighty God, on Sabbath, November 2nd, A.D. 1851. The dedication sermon was preached at 11 o’clock, A.M., by Rev. Wm. C. Anderson, D.D., President of Miami University, Oxford, O., from the text—2 Chronicles vi. 41: “Now, therefore, arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in thy goodness.”

In the afternoon at 3 o’clock, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated—many others from sister churches uniting with them in the ordinance.

At 7 o’clock in the evening, Rev. Willis Lord, D.D., the Pastor, preached a sermon from 1st Cor., 1st chap. And clause of 21st verse: “The world by wisdom knew not God.”

The Church is in a prosperous condition, and is one of the influential Churches of the great Mississippi Valley.

from The Presbyterian Magazine
June, 1853

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