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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: P. Touart, 01/2008
St. Paul's by-the-Sea Protestant Episcopal Church
Inventory No.: WO-326
Date Listed: 10/22/2008
Location: 302 N. Baltimore Avenue, Ocean City, Worcester County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1900-01; 1923
Architect/Builder: Several windows: J. & R. Lamb Studios
Description: St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Protestant Episcopal Church and Rectory are located on the northeast corner of North Baltimore Avenue and Third Street in the center of Ocean City. Built in 1900-01, the single-story L-shaped frame church faces southwest with the principal gable roof oriented on a northwest/southeast axis. Supported on a rusticated block foundation, the Gothic Revival frame church is sheathed with wood shingles, and the steeply pitched roofs are covered with asphalt shingles. Rising on the southwest corner is a two-story entrance and bell tower topped by a steeply pitched pyramidal roofed spire. The church structure extends to the north with a 2 1/2 story American four-square style dwelling, dating from 1923, which was originally constructed as a rectory and was later converted into office space. Like the church, the former rectory is supported on a rusticated concrete block foundation and is sheathed with wood shingles. Its medium-pitched pyramidal roof is covered with asphalt shingles. Attached to the east side of the church is a single-story parish hall, erected in 1973-74, and built of concrete block walls with a pebble-dash stucco finish. Significance: St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Protestant Episcopal Church is a prominent landmark in Ocean City. The combination church and rectory is significant for its architecture. The single-story Gothic Revival frame church, erected in 1900-01, and its attached 2 1/2 story four-square style rectory, built in 1923, share a high degree of architectural integrity and reflect the adaptation of nationally popular building forms, construction practices and finishes to the needs of a seasonal congregation on a barrier island resort in the early 20th century. St. Paul’s by-the-Sea, a medium-sized Gothic Revival church, was built as the second structure to serve the seasonal summer population. (The original St. Paul’s by-the-Sea church--originally a mission-oriented chapel-of-ease--was erected at the south end of the island in 1881. It stood on a lot near the hotel known as Congress Hall.) During the first quarter of the 20th century, measures were taken to make the 1900-01 church more serviceable and permanent for a growing congregation in a storm-prone environment. A particularly violent storm occurred a month and a half after the construction of the church in October 1903. Originally erected on a brick pier or timber piling foundation, the church was resupported by a continuous concrete block foundation with full cellar within its first ten years. The solid concrete block walls supplied a much more durable support structure, especially when the sea overflowed the beachfront. The full cellar also provided space for meetings and Sunday School. In the modern streetscape of Ocean City, the 1900-01 church and the 1923 rectory are among a diminishing collection of a few dozen surviving buildings that represent the first quarter century of the resort’s history. Several of the colored glass windows are from the workshop of the nationally prominent J. & R. Lamb Studios of Tenafly, New Jersey, a prolific manufacturer of colored glass church windows. The firm was founded in New York City in 1857.
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