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West Avenue Presbyterian Church (former)

747 West Trade Street

 

Built around 1930, the West Avenue Presbyterian Church (now the Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church) is one of the few medium-sized early 20th-century churches that have survived in the Uptown area.  The existence of churches of this scale are historical indicators of the largely residential nature of much of the central section of the city during the first half of the 20th century.

 

The two-story brick sanctuary building faces north on a flat corner lot formed by West Trade and South Cedar streets.  The building is set back 80' from Trade Street, and sits adjacent to the sidewalk along Cedar Street.  The two-story facade is divided into three sections, with projecting bays located adjacent to the corners, mimicking towers.  The center bay is pierced by one large Tudor arched opening trimmed with a stone border featuring impost blocks and a keystone. The opening contains metal-sash stained-glass windows held in wooden frames.  The middle of the opening is filled with a stone panel featuring a series of six smaller trefoil panels.  Below the stone panel, three stained glass window are topped with stylized trefoil shape.  Single windows with stained glass border the largers opening on the first floor.  The bricks are laid in a running bond, with a soldier course aligned with the sill of the upper window.  The east bay is blank except for a decorative square panel in the brickwork.  Parapets rise from a moulded, coved stone belt.  The parapets above the projecting bays are gabled.  The center section features a square stone panel above the arched opening.  The parapet is topped with a stone cap.

 

 

Sometime after 1952 a shallow brick narthex was added to the west projecting bay.  The addition features a brick and stone gabled frontispiece with a Tudor arch doorway with double panel doors set below a arched stained glass transom.  Brick piers border the door way and are topped with stone pinnacles.  The narthex is topped with a crenellated parapet.

The west elevation is five bays wide and features three Tudor arched openings like that found on the facade.  A basement level is illuminated by window wells along the sidewalk, and is topped with a stone water table.  Double-hung stain-glass windows topped with Italinate stone caps are located in each story of the north and southernmost bays.  The moulded stone band found on the facade continues on the west elevation, as do the stone parapet panels above the arched openings.

The rear elevation features a transition from the wire-cut brick laid in running bond that cover the facade and west elevation, to common brick laid in American bond.  When built, adjacent homes blocked a much of the view of the rear of the church.  The westernmost two bays are located in the wire-cut brick section, and feature the same single windows found on the west elevation.  The remaining section of the wall is pierced by window and door openings with no decorative trim.  The moulded stone band stops with the wire-cut brick.  The east elevation features a metal awning and a brick addition added to an original brick wing set back from the facade.