Friday, March 5, 2010

Senate Pass FDR style

Considering the current bru-ha-ha over health care I thought this non-Armstrong County item might be of interest.  It is a 1939 pass to the gallery of the US Senate.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

St. Paul's Church - Kittanning, PA

A color photo postcard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Kittanning, PA.  The photo was most likely taken in 1913.  The photo shows the newly completed third (and current) church structure.

The church in the photo was designed by New York architects Frazer and Robb, and was constructed between 1911 and 1913.  The service was held there on Ash Wednesday of 1913, although the church was not officially dedicated until after the mortgage was paid off, and a few interior details were left unfinished until the early 1930's.  The actual dedication service featured the last act of Bishop Whitehead of Pittsburgh and was held on the feast day of St. Paul, January 22, 1921.

The second church that the current structure replaced was a Victorian brick Gothic-revival church begun in 1868 and remodeled and expanded twice before suffering a fire from a lightening strike in 1910.  Rather than repair the damage, the Vestry (church officers) decided to demolish it and rebuild in a newer and grander style.  The church was re-built in a more authentic English Parish Gothic style and had interior appointments copied from several ancient English churches.  At the time of the building project there was also talk that the Diocese of Pittsburgh, which then comprised all of Western Pennsylvania, would be broken into three separate dioceses and Kittanning would become the seat of the middle diocese and St. Paul's the cathedral church.  This rumored split of the diocese into three did not happened, nonetheless the beautiful church was constructed with all the resources available, including a new 27 rank pipe organ from the Erie firm of Tellers-Sommerhoff.

The house to the immediate right in the post card was the Parsonage that was demolished sometime in the late 1920's.  The structure behind the Parsonage is the Parish House (in red brick).  Built in 1895 the Parish House held a church office, gym, library, combination stage and meeting hall, and three Sunday School classrooms, it also acted as the first YMCA and was used by the Kittanning public schools for various activities until the Lutheran congregation of St. John's located on North Jefferson St. completed their larger and more modern Parish Hall in 1910; at that point those civic and school activities moved there.  St. Paul's Parish House continued to be used by the church until it was heavily remodeled, both in terms of interior layout and appointments and exterior appearance in 1951-55.  Currently the Parish house is covered in a stone facade to match the church and is still used for church offices, classrooms and parish functions.