Spruce Street United Methodist Church
The Spruce Street United Methodist Church ca. 1909, shortly after construction finished.
Undated photo of the church.
The church today. The exterior of the structure has changed extremely little in the last century.
Backstory and Context
The 1908 Spruce Street United Methodist Church represents Elmer F. Jacobs’ foray into designing a religious building. Rather than using his signature Romanesque Revival style, Jacobs opted instead for a Gothic Revival design for the Spruce Street structure. Though the red brick and stone window lintels found throughout the building resemble Jacobs’ Romanesque Revival buildings, there are several important differences that ground the Spruce Street church in the Gothic tradition. One is the presence of pointed arches rather than rounded ones. The buttresses that line many exterior elements of the building are also Gothically inspired. In fact, they likely serve an ornamental rather than load-bearing function. Finally, the building has increased emphasis on verticality, as the contrast between the core structure and the towers suggests.
The basement of the Spruce Street United Methodist Church rises slightly from the ground and is covered in rusticated masonry to distinguish from the main floors. Two crenellated towers at each end of the façade provide entrance to the building. The façade is uniquely lacking in a central portal, and instead possesses a large tripartite stained-glass window. The gabled roof is roughly pyramidal and meets at a central point above the nave. A two-story addition was appended to the rear of the church some time in the twentieth century, likely before 1950. However, the building exterior remains impressively faithful to Jacobs' original design. The church has been occupied by the Spruce Street United Methodist Church organization since its construction.
Rasmussen, Barbara E. Downtown Morgantown Historic District, Monongalia County, WV, National Register of Historic Places. December 10th 1995. Accessed October 12th 2020. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/monongalia/96000441.pdf.
"Spruce Street United Methodist Church, Morgantown, W. Va." West Virginia & Regional History Center. Accessed October 12, 2020. https://wvhistoryonview.org/catalog/051840.
Gibson, Scott. "Methodist Protestant Chuch, Morgantown, W. Va." West Virginia & Regional History Center. Accessed October 12, 2020. https://wvhistoryonview.org/catalog/052962.
MacKay, Iain. "Spruce Street United Methodist Church." 2020. Courtesy of author.