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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Ronald L. Andrews, 04/1982
First Church of Christ, Scientist
Inventory No.: B-1405
Date Listed: 12/27/1982
Location: 102 W. University Parkway, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1911-1913
Architect/Builder: Architect: Charles E. Cassell
Description: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, is a large ashlar masonry structure constructed in 1911-1913 in the Greek Revival style, located at 102 West University Parkway in Baltimore. The building, which faces south, consists of two parts: a 76’ wide by 68’4" deep block housing the sanctuary, with a smaller (40’10" by 24’6") vestibule projecting from the front. A pedimented portico spans the façade, supported by six Ionic columns. The building is faced with Beaver Dam marble with terra cotta trim. Both sections of the building have dentiled cornices. The main block is two stories high above a high rusticated basement. The five bays of the side elevation are defined by tall circular-headed windows of leaded glass set in the geometric pattern of a Greek grille; the windows are framed by flat pilasters. On the interior of the sanctuary, curved mahogany pews form semicircular rows. Ionic pilasters on high bases frame the openings and support a deep entablature and dentiled cornice. The ceiling is coffered, with sections decorated with egg-and-dart moldings and guilloche bands interrupted by paterae at their intersections. At the rear of the sanctuary, over the arched vestibule, is a 200-seat balcony. Both the balcony and the speaker’s platform feature Renaissance balustrades. Organ pipes are exposed above the speaker’s platform. Significance: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, achieves architectural significance from two sources. First, the building is an excellent example of the type of architectural style that was commonly used in Baltimore and most cities in the mid-Atlantic area in the early years of the 20th century for such public buildings as churches, schools, libraries, and government offices. The classical idiom, seen in a Greek Revival variation in the First Church of Christ, Scientist was possibly the most popular in smaller, older, conservative cities such as Baltimore. The building takes on particular significance because it is one of the better examples of this type of building and also because of its location in a primarily residential area that faces the expanses of the Johns Hopkins University campus forming a backdrop terminating the university’s grounds. Second, the building achieves significance from association with Charles E. Cassell (d. 1918), a Baltimore architect who designed the church. Cassell designed a number of buildings in Baltimore with the First Church of Christ, Scientist, being possibly the most academic in style.
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