Introduction to St. Paul's
St.Paul's has a rich history that parallels our area through it's dynamic development, growth and change over the last century.
History of St. Paul's
In 1920 St. Pauls' was founded as a church school for the children of Christ Church, Dayton, whose families lived in the "far hills" of Oakwood. The first classes were held at Harmon Elementary School and other locations in the area. The first building for St. Paul's was designed by local architect Albert Pretzinger and built in 1926. It included the church, complete with a pipe organ from the Estey Organ Company, a large space that was dividable into classrooms, and a large social room with a kitchen. This building was intended to be a temporary structure, but history would end up putting it to other uses.
St. Paul's Church School continued to grow and in 1929, St. Paul's was admitted to the Diocese of Southern Ohio as its own parish. In these three short years, attendance had grown so much that in the same year, the ground under the church on the south end of the structure was dug out to add more classrooms. By 1939, it was time to begin building a permanent church for St. Paul's. The intention was to build an addition to the south of the church, elongating the nave and creating a more formal chancel. The plan was to tear down the 1926 structure eventually to finish a new church building. There is a concept design at St. Paul's showing what the new church would have looked like if this plan had come to fruition.
The architect chosen addition was another local architect, Douglas Lorenz, of Lorenz and Williams. A cornerstone with an enclosed time capsule was laid in 1939 and the new structure was dedicated in 1940. Special care was taken in designing the interior of the space. A high gothic style was used and the leading architects and designers of the gothic style came from Cram and Ferguson, the firm out of Massachusetts that had completed such national treasures as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, several buildings on the campuses of Princeton and West Point, and many others. For St. Paul's, Cram and Ferguson designed the pulpit, lectern and cathedra, and they also influenced the overall proportion and style of the space.
St. Paul’s Artist/Calligrapher inducted into National Hall of Fame for Artisans
Frances Bailie, the artist who skillfully rendered The Windows of St. Paul’s book, was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for Artisans on November 27, 2010. A copy of the book, along with other examples of her work, will be permanently enshrined at the hall of fame, which is located in Harlan, Kentucky.
Frances took up calligraphy in her seventies and she quickly put it to use on artwork, notes, and even envelopes. She completed The Windows of St. Paul’s, with text by Marcella Prugh and photographs by Charles Comer, III, in 1983 in celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the dedication of the sanctuary. The book details the history of the windows as well as their symbolism and imagery.
Mrs. Bailie passed away in 2006, leaving us with a great treasure in her book, and also in other pieces of art, including a scripture reading hanging on the wall in the assistant to the rector’s office.
The windows of St. Paul’s, which were designed by Frederick Walter Cole of the William Morris Studio in London, depict the life of Christ, the symbols of Christianity, biblical stories, and several Saints. Mr. Cole designed windows for several significant churches and went on to be the surveyor of the windows at Canterbury Cathedral.
Character through Art and Architecture
The Art of Ralph Adams Cram at St. Paul’s
The one thing man exists to accomplish is character; not worldly success and eminence in any line, not the conquest of nature, not even “adaptation to environment”…, but character; the assimilation and fixing in personality of high and noble qualities of thought and deed, the furtherance of the eternal sacramental process of redemption of matter through the operation of spiritual forces.
—Ralph Adams Cram, Towards the Great Peace
The church we know as St. Paul’s began in 1920 as a church school for the children of Christ Church whose families lived in the southern hills of Dayton. With the values of religious education, inspiration, and character set as a firm foundation, this small mission grew to be admitted as a parish by the Diocese of Southern Ohio in 1929.
By the mid-1930’s, our need grew for expansion, and ground was broken on the new chancel, now the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, in 1939. The plans for this new space embodied the finest traditions in church architecture, with an interior reflecting Gothic inspiration. For these elements, St. Paul’s secured the services of Cram and Ferguson, architects of such national treasures as St. John the Divine and St. Thomas in New York City; and Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
The spirit of Ralph Cram’s work can now be seen in the pulpit and lectern in the sanctuary (the two pieces were originally together as one pulpit in the 1939 chancel), the pulpit in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (originally the lectern in the 1939 chancel), the bishop’s chair, and other elements in the Chapel. In the chapel pulpit we see the Gospel writers - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In the sanctuary pulpit and lectern we find St. Paul, St. Chrysostom, Phillips Brooks, and John Wycliffe. Cram's work is significant, not only for its historic distinction, but also the values he imbued in it.
Our search is over! The Rev. Deborah Woolsey will join us as our Rector on January 20, 2013. Please pray for St. Paul's & Rev. Woolsey as we embark on this next phase of our journey. More