Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 10 Churches

St. Mary of the Assumption
Scranton, Pennsylvania

St. Mary of the Assumption presents its rear façade and prominent central tower above a massive stone –ashlar retaining wall along the street. The finely crafted brick with limestone trim Romanesque Revival-style structure culminates in a stepped, Gothic spired bell tower. A central statue of the Blessed Mother occupies a shallow limestone apse above a limestone water table several feet above the main floor line. Windows are round-topped in form; at the street façade, they are paired in recessed limestone blind arches.

St. John the Evangelist
Scranton, Pennsylvania

St. John the Evangelist has served as a major South Scranton landmark since the late Nineteenth Century. Late Medieval English in its architectural inspiration, the imposing cruciform brick and limestone structure presents a single, square bell tower as the central feature of its massive façade. At the top, open through four pairs of low-Gothic arches, the turret-cornered belfry can be seen for miles across the cityscape. Below, a three-bay window atop a limestone backdrop intended for sculpture extends the framing for the central doorway. The three front entries are reached by an elevated brick podium that stretches along Pittston Avenue. Historically, these doors were accessed through individual cascades of stone stairs. The lower tower and nave walls are braced by brick and stone battered buttresses; side projections feature crenellated parapet walls. A continuous clerestory attenuates the volume of the nave. Enormous Gothic-arched windows accentuate the transept facades. This structure inspires religious sentiment in the traditional manner.

Holy Family
Scranton, Pennsylvania

A particularly decorated and expressive Romanesque Revival-style church, Holy Family remains a significant central Scranton landmark. Tightly built to the street edge, as many of these churches were, the front façade features a substantial, projecting central bell tower with a distinguished verdigris copper pulled dome cap. Quite visible from numerous vantage points, the tower gives the church geographical prominence within the city. A singular ocular window marks the tower’s façade. Below, three front doors share a monumental cascade of steps to the street. Stair towers flanking the narthex are flat roofed with brick and limestone paneled parapet walls, giving the structure the broad-shouldered effect of wearing epaulettes. All nave windows are round topped and the implied transept windows are of considerable size. The brick side walls feature brick pilasters and a corbelled entablature below the roof edge.

St. Joseph
Scranton, Pennsylvania

St. Joseph’s Church occupies a prominent North Scranton corner immediately adjacent to the historic North Scranton Junior High School building. Elevated above N. Main Avenue on a stone foundation, the brick nave exhibits elements of the Colonial Revival Style. The entry doors are reached via a symmetrical switchback monumental stone staircase. The original cupola has been replaced.

Immaculate Conception
Taylor, Pennsylvania

Immaculate Conception Church, a wood-framed Country-Gothic style structure, rests on an elevated stone foundation wall. The exterior has received aluminum siding. Windows terminate in Gothic-arch forms and the nave sidewalls express a series of structural buttresses. A modest gable-roofed bell tower caps the front end of the gable-roofed nave. Below at the façade, a raised gable-roofed porch shelters the central pair of entry doors.

St. John the Baptist
Taylor, Pennsylvania

St. John the Baptist presents as a low, square volume dominated by a double-pitched hip roof with a tapered central lantern. The broad overhangs and flared roof line depict a strong Asian or Polynesian influence. The lowered brick sidewalls topped by ribbon windows below the cornice belie the structure’s newer construction. The building’s pinkish brick and strongly abstracted art windows reinforce the contemporary style.

St. Mary of Czestochowa
Scranton, Pennsylvania

St. Mary of Czestochowa, a substantial, symmetrical brick and stone structure, features twin towers. The structure exemplifies the early 20th century Romanesque Revival style. Windows and doors are simple round-top shapes. Access to the elevated, gable-roofed nave is through three pairs of doors reached by an exterior brick podium with monumental stairs. Steeply-pitched and chamfered hip roofs cap the towers. A statue of the Blessed Mother, as St. Mary of Czestochowa, projects at the choir-loft level of the façade to create a central focal point.

Sacred Heart of Jesus
Mayfield, Pennsylvania

St. Michael
Old Forge, Pennsylvania

St. Michael’s Church a simple, wood-frame Country Gothic-style structure, occupies a corner site, and has been clad in aluminum siding. Nave windows are Gothic-arched in form and a four-sided, stepped tower with an octagonal spire dominates the front façade. A later-addition sloping roof covers the cascading exterior front staircase. A glass enclosure shelters the rear side entry. The entire structure is white.

St. Anthony of Padua
Scranton, Pennsylvania

The modest, but substantial, St. Anthony of Padua Church presents an asymmetrical façade marked by two square corner towers of unequal height. The brick and stone structure provides yet another example of the popular Romanesque Revival style. Common features of these revival buildings are round arches, semi-circular arched windows and brick or stone belt courses to accentuate exterior walls. The style was widely used for church buildings during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

**Text by: Richard J. Leonori, AIA, Lackawanna Historical Society trustee

1 comment:

  1. An update on St. Joseph's: It will continue as a Catholic parish. The St. Tomas More Society has recently announced it will be purchasing the property. The society is currently an Anglican Use congregation in the Diocese of Scranton but it will soon be joining the newly established Anglican Ordinariate, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

    Here's a link to the story:


    And here's a link to the congregation's website: