CONTENTS
James Edward Flanders
Dallas' First Architect
PAGE BY JIM
THE CHURCHES OF FLANDERS,  1898-1905
Little is known about this structure.  Although the building has been identified as the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, this illustration from the early 1900's identifies it as the Central Presbyterian Church.  Indeed it may have been both if a name change took place.  Although the building can only be attributed to Flanders, the design gives good reason to do so.  Characteristics of the plan tie it to his earlier First Presbyterian Church and the design, with it's triad of towers, is a harbinger of later JEF churches.  It stylistically fits neatly between the Dallas First Presbyterian Church and the Central Christian Church of Greenville built shortly after in 1899.  It was probably located on the northwest corner of Commerce and South Harwood streets and it was razed in 1919.

Other than the First Presbyterian Church, there are only two known earlier Flanders church, the 1886 First Baptist Church of Lampasas, Texas and the 1878 St. James Episcopal Church of Texarkana. The Central Presbyterian Church marked the beginning of the church building period that concluded Flanders working life in Dallas.
PREVIOUS
CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1898ca
Dallas, Texas
EXTERIOR OF FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GREENVILLE
This wonderful old photograph hints at the role the church played in the lives of its' members.  Architecturally, the polychromatic appearance of the building created by later painting is absent here.  Note too the design of the brickwork above the beautifully detailed art glass windows.

Photograph courtesy of Central Christian Church
FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH - 1899
Greenville, Texas
This edifice, located on the corners of Wesley and Washington streets was erected in 1898-99 at a cost of $23,000, but not without great sacrifice from the members of the congregation.  One member, Mrs. V.A.King, contributed half of the total cost of the building and its' furnishings, to assure fruition of the project.  It was at this time that the church's name was changed from First Christian Church to the name still in use, Central Christian Church.
The congregation took on  another major project in 1985.  Faced with a choice of merging with another church or moving and rebuilding, the members took the third choice - rebuild the existing structure, the oldest church structure in the city.  The entire building was jacked up and dry rotted boards were replaced with new ones.  Bricks were cleaned, mortar was removed to a depth of 3/4 inch and was replaced with new mortar.  All the windows were cleaned and re-caulked, door and window frames stripped and repainted,  and gutters and downspouts repaired or replaced.  Inside, the ceiling of the sanctuary was repaired and the whole interior repainted, the original wiring system was removed and replaced with a new one,  a new heating and cooling system was installed, and most of the floors were carpeted.  The renovation was completed in1988.
In October 1876, the Methodists of Terrell purchased the property on the southwest corner of Hattie and College streets and the following year, constructed a frame building to house the congregation.  By 1900 they had outgrown this building and plans were made to construct a new sanctuary.  The frame building was moved into the street where church services continued to be held as the new building was constructed.  This extant structure was the first brick church in Terrell and the first services were held there on Sunday, September 16, 1900.  It was Flanders first church of the new century and it marked the beginning of a another field of opportunity for him.  A contemporary account of the building described its architecture as "complete and elegant" and deemed the building the "banner church edifice in the (Methodist) conference".  State Senator Robert L. Warren was on the building committee and he later engaged JEF to build his home in Terrell.  This house, also extant and on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1903.  The Terrell church, which cost between $12,000 and $14,000, was designed during Flanders brief partnership with Sevrin C. Skielvig who probably influenced the interior design of the church as the style is unlike any other known Flanders churches.  The exterior of the building was Victorian.  Flanders designed a quarter circle covered portico facing the corner of the property as the entry to the building.  The portico terminated on both sides at the base of a tower where the doorways to the building are placed.  A fanciful cupola rests on the peak of the red tin shingle roof. Exposed steel posts and the structural ceiling beams they support dominate the interior of the building.  An interesting effect can be seen in dove-shaped openings in the braces between the piers and beams.  The ceiling is a stark combination of beams, angles and wooden planks.   Cathedral light fixtures were added during a 1973 renovation.

FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH TERRELL - 1900
Terrell, Texas
EXTANT, RTHL, NRHP
EXTANT,  RTHL
THE FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF TERRELL - This 1907 illustration does not reflect the current appearance of the church which makes extensive use of white paint on the wooden parts of the building.

Postcard illustration, Bass & Brm., Publishers, Series 098, 1907
FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH McKINNEY - 1901
McKinney, Texas
EXTANT,  RTHL
A PROUD CONGREGATION gathers, with horse and buggies, for a photograph in front of their newly completed church.

Illustration courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas
On November 20, 1904, the congregation of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of McKinney retired the debt on their building completed three years earlier and they happily held their dedication celebration.  This extant edifice was built in 1901 at 315 Church Street at a cost of $12,000.  A contemporary description of this building of Gothic revival architecture states,  "It is a commodious, substantial brick veneer building, an architectural beauty, and an ornament to the city.  The foundation is one of the best in the city, extending to solid bedrock.  The roof is a modern angle improved stamped metallic shingled tin roofing and storm proof...."  The predominant three-story tower proved not to be storm proof when it succumbed to high winds in 1954.  A shorter, simpler replacement now stands in marked contrast to the elaborate architecture of the rest of the building

The construction of this church, like the one in Terrell, was aided by a client of JEF.  During, or immediately after the building of this church, JEF designed the extant residence now known as the Heard-Craig House.  Mrs. C. P. Heard, as president of the Home Mission Society, was acknowledged as a driving force in the congregation as the new edifice was built.
THE NEW METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF McKINNEY, built in 1901.  This illustration is a rendering by JEF that appeared in the Texas Christian Advocate.

Illustration courtesy of Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
In 1900, the congregation of the First Methodist Episcopal Church South of Clarksville was outgrowing the building they had constructed in 1882.  Flanders was retained to design the new edifice and he combined the elements of the floor plan he had used in Terrell with elements of the exterior design of the McKinney church.  The combination was a successful one.  The new edifice was named the McKenzie Memorial Methodist Church South, in honor of Dr. J. W. P. McKenzie who founded the church in 1838.  It was one of three churches in Texas and Arkansas  founded by McKenzie who was a missionary to the Choctaw Indian nation. 

The church was described as "a red brick veneer building with a sanctuary, a Sunday school assembly room and small class rooms".  The s church parlors were on the second floor.  A room at the south end was the pastor's study and a large room in the center was the parlor. A small room at the head of the stairs was the kitchen with a wood burning cook stove, and a large pantry that separated it from the parlor.  A furnace located in the basement was used to heat the sanctuary itself, but wood stoves were used on the second floor.  In 1976, after 75 years of use, the building was demolished and proceeds from the sale were applied to the costs for its' replacement.
This account, though lengthy, provides a good description of the building and its' functions and is typical of other Flanders churches.

On November 24, 1904, a year-and-a-half after the first service in the new church, the Texas Christian Advocate reported in an article entitled "A Day to be Remembered", an account of the opening of the Flanders designed Trinity Methodist Church in Dallas.  In another article on the same page entitled "A Great Day for Methodism in McKinney", the dedication of the Flanders designed M. E. Church South of McKinney, was detailed.  And in a third article on the same page entitled "Rev. A. Mulkey at Farmersville", it was reported that Rev. Mulkey had succeeded in collecting $6000 to pay the remaining debt on the Farmersville church and the building was now ready to be dedicated.

The building was used for just over twenty year until it was destroyed by fire on December 28, 1924.
McKENZIE MEMORIAL METHODIST CHURCH SOUTH - 1901
Clarksville, Texas.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF FARMERSVILLE - 1903
Farmersville, Texas.
The predecessor of this 1903 church was razed in March, 1902.  After several delays, the cornerstone of the new building was laid on November 3rd.  The edifice was completed the following spring at a cost of $17,000 and the first service was held on Sunday morning, May 3, 1903.  An account of the opening of the church contains the following description of the building:
"This commodious and handsome church edifice has an extreme length of 110 feet, east and west, and eighty feet, north and south, and its' extreme height is eighty-five feet.

The foundations are massive and are built of native stone, laid in cement and finished with stucco blocks from the belt course to the window sills and the walls are reinforced with stout buttresses at all principle corners of the numerous offsets produced by tower walls and various rooms flanking the main building.

The superstructure is finished in veneer of St. Louis gray pressed brick with brown sandstone trimmings and metal roof.  The main auditorium is 50x50 feet. And the Sunday-school room is 45x45 feet, both provided with the same patterned finish of heavy, dark, solid oak seats of the latest design, arranged in circular form from the pulpit upwards in amphitheater style.  These two departments are separated by a heavy curtain finished in the same tint as the walls, and when raised the capacity of the auditorium is nearly doubled and will accommodate fully 1,000 persons with seats in full view of the speaker and in good hearing distance.

In addition there is an infant class room 16x20 feet, opening into the auditorium and also a recess to the right and in rear of the pulpit, 12x20 feet for the choir, both of which go to supplement the seating of the entire lower room.

The interior walls are plastered and finished in a delicate salmon tint and the ceilings throughout are ornamental steel, beautifully and artistically traced in rich flower-work in colors and gold, the handiwork of local artists.

The casings, wainscotings and other necessary interior woodwork are of select native pine, finished in natural color.  The doors are heavy and are oak grained, with nickel mounted trimmings and best quality of hangings and locks…

The second story is reached by a stairway leading from the entrance hall in the rear of the pulpit, and is provided with a ladies society hall 30x40 feet, and a kitchen 16x20 feet, with a pantry 10x10 feet.  The entire upper portion of the house is designed for the use of the Ladies Home Mission and kindred societies, except for the preachers study room, 16x16 feet, on the second floor of one of the towers on the south side of the main building.

The entire structure is lighted well throughout with electricity and provision has been made for the installation of the latest and most approved system of steam heating apparatus.

…the building has a pleasant general perspective; is stately in proportions, and is provided at the entrance with a flight of stone steps leading to a circular entrance porch, which extends from tower to tower, and a double entrance, one to the right and one to the left, through vestibules in the tower which open into the main auditorium through push doors.  This porchway, with its' double columns and corresponding pilasters, adds much to the architectural beauty of the building and at the same time will be a great convenience in inclement weather"
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF FARMERSVILLE is the most eclectic of the churches designed by Flanders.  This old newspaper photograph does not show the details of the building well.  But, with the Prairie Style entry and towers , the Tudor windows and dormers of the rear tower, the Chateauesque detail of the dormer above the entry, the Queen Anne gables, and the gothic windows, it's almost as if JEF were trying to include as many styles as possible in this building.

Illustration courtesy of the Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist Library, Dallas, Texas
The Bryan church was built in 1903.  When it burned three years later, it was rebuilt from the same plans at the same location. This church is probably best evaluated in its relationship to the extant First United Methodist Church of Pittsburg. In December, 1903, the Texas Methodist Annual Conference was held in Bryan.  Members of the Pittsburg delegation saw the Bryan church for the first time and when its pastor, Reverend Elijah J. Shettles was reassigned to Pittsburg the following year, he encountered little opposition when he proposed hiring Flanders to design  a similar church for Pittsburg.  By 1905, the new building was complete.   It retained the orientation of the entries to the longer side of the structure and it would seem probable then that the interior plan of Bryan was similar to that of Pittsburg.  The entries through the two vestibules of the front towers led directly into the two rear corners of the sanctuary and the pulpit was in the center of the opposite wall. This differed from the semi-circular designs of most of JEF's earlier plans but it did retain the Akron plan feature of the moveable wall to enlarge the sanctuary.  The exterior appearance of Bryan, however, while showing some influence of the Prairie Style was still greatly determined by Victorian elements.
The  Methodists of Vernon erected their first church, a frame building with a single tower, on the corner of Pease and Deaf Smith streets in 1889.  The church history says that this edifice was remodeled and enlarged only three years later in 1892.  In 1910, they built what the church history states to be the "second church home" at the same location, a domed building that was designed by Flanders. Yet, the building in the illustration above, identified as the M. E. Church South Vernon, Texas, is found on post cards of the period.  It is not a case of erroneous identification on the card, as sometimes happened.  There are two different post cards, although both used the same photograph.    One card that has been found has a hand written note headed "Vernon Tex,10-1-08".  The distinctive design is definitely Flanders, as it is identical in almost every way to his unique 1903 church in Farmersville, Texas, as well as his 1905 church in Chickasha, Oklahoma. 
BRYAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1903
Bryan, Texas
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH, VERNON - ca1903
Vernon, Texas
The Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church South was completed in 1904.  Flanders still had nine more prolific years in the design and construction of churches ahead of him in which he would create almost a hundred more ecumenical structures.  It was, however, Trinity that came to be considered as his masterpiece.  In 1974, it was described as "perhaps architecturally one of the most significant religious buildings in the Dallas area".

In 1902, the church leaders decided that the organization of several suburban churches would better serve the needs of the Dallas Methodists than one central church.  This was the impetus for the construction of Trinity.  Flanders was enlisted to design the edifice and one of the city's prominent builders, J. W. Slaughter, was hired as the contractor.  The cornerstone was laid on November 22, 1903 and the following November the first service was held, conducted by the bishop of the conference, Bishop E. R. Hendrix of Kansas City.  The selection of the Prairie Style was a bold move for JEF and for the building committee of the church. The style was rarely used in the South and its' use for a house of worship was even more innovative.  The unique style of this building, and the pleasant neighborhood in which it stood, made it a popular attraction.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF BRYAN, TEXAS was JEF's first design with the entries on the longer axis of the building
TRINITY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1904
Dallas, Texas
This suggests a probable run of misfortunes for the Vernon church congregation.  The 1892 remodeling did not last long before something happened to the building -probably in 1902 to 1904 and a new church, designed by JEF, was built.  This building too was soon destroyed and the domed edifice replaced it in 1910.  This would make the Methodist Episcopal Church South of Vernon, the only incidence we know of where JEF designed two consecutive buildings for the same church.
A PROUD CONGREGATION gathers, with horse and buggies, for a photograph in front of their newly completed church.

Illustration courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas
NEXT

CONTENTS
Professor Drury Blake Alexander of the University of Texas said of Trinity in 1974, "I know of no better example of this style of architecture in Texas and I feel that it would be unfortunate if Dallas, which has lost so much of its' early architectural work, would lose this as well."  It was more than unfortunate, it was a devastating loss to the architectural heritage of Dallas when, in 1983, Trinity suffered its' second fire in as many years that left only a burnt-out shell of this landmark. The remains, which sat on prime downtown real estate, became a subject of debate between preservationists, politicians, and developers for the next two years. Proposals included rebuilding the structure as part of an atrium/entry to a high rise office development.  The battle was long and fierce.  There was no winner. The church was razed and the property remained vacant for many years.  The extant St. John's Methodist Church in Stamford was built from a similar plan and the exterior is almost identical to Trinity.
A new owner was found for the building, the American Institute of Musical Studies, and the building became known as the Trinity Center for Music.  The director of this organization, Richard Owens - himself an ordained Methodist minister, brought to the center a sensitivity for the building's past and a vision for its' future.  United Artists performed $30,000 worth of repairs after they used the sanctuary and pastor's study for a scene in the movie "Semi-Tough".  In the research undertaken by the Dallas Landmark Committee, the late Louise Kahn was a diligent and devoted worker, leading the first systematic research into Flanders and his work.  Her work was the impetus that led to this book. In 1981, Bobbie Joe Wise, Jr. continued this work in his thesis "Trinity Methodist Church: A Historical Survey and Guidelines for its' Adaptive Use as a Music Conservatory and Performing Arts Center" for his MA in architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington.  The drawings that follow are from Mr. Wise's thesis.
"There is nothing like it in the state.  From the outside it is majestic and imposing.  It has a cathedral air, and it would be admiringly observed anywhere as a public building. The interior is a model of elegance and beauty.  The auditorium is more of an oblong than otherwise, and the pulpit and altar are in one side.  Around them circle the most beautiful pews in the city.  The windows, while not numerous, are the perfection of beauty.  In either end there are three, one large one in the center and two smaller ones on either side.  The designs could not be surpassed. Under electric lights, they are simply gorgeous from without.  In the daytime, the effect is within.  The ceiling is massive panel work covered with ornamental steel finish.  The electric lamps dot this like numerous stars looking down from heaven.  There are three decorative windows in the ceiling.  The walls are tastefully tinted and all the woodwork is handsomely finished oak."   .
In 1916, the Methodists reversed their previous decision that favored suburban churches and the members were encouraged to attend a central church.  This did not immediately effect Trinity other than the name, which was changed to First M. E. Church, South, a result of the merging of the two congregations. Trinity was the larger of the two edifices and, with the growth of the city, it was no longer considered to be a suburban location.  Within a few years however, the building could no longer satisfy the needs of the growing congregation and a new building was completed in 1924.  Trinity was then sold to the First Church North which held its' first service in the building in 1925.

The years afterwards all worked against the structure.  The reuniting of the two schisms of the Methodists resulted in a reinstatement of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church name, this time with out the "south" designation. The advent of the automobile and the continued migration to the suburbs took its' toll on the membership.  In 1974, it was down to less than one hundred, and when the pastor, Reverend Dr. Ridley retired on May 4th, the church closed its' doors.

Almost immediately the vacant building was recognized for its' architectural merit and several groups began preservation efforts.  The North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.), the Historic Preservation League, and the Dallas Historic Landmark Preservation Committee all began a united effort to recognize the building and to find a suitable occupant to insure its' continued survival. The efforts of these organizations and the people in them resulted in tremendous accomplishments during the next few years.  On April 24, 1975, Trinity became the first building in Dallas to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The following October it was named a "Dallas Landmark Building", the first building selected for this honor by the Dallas Landmark Committee.  In 1977, the Texas Historical Commission placed a historical maker on the building which read, in part:


An account of the opening day service described the building this way:
An oak and terra cotta proscenium arch encircled the pulpit area.  Behind the sanctuary, and separated from it by a wall that could be raised into the overhead space, was a semicircular assembly room.  Divided Sunday school rooms encircled the assembly area on two levels and opened into it. The upper level was a balcony.  This arrangement was another interpretation of the Akron plan, the characteristics of which harkened back to the original plan created by Miller.  In a time when fine churches were being built for $15,000, the cost of Trinity was $35,000
ATHENS  METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1904
Athens, Texas
The construction of the Methodist Episcopal Church South of Athens began in September 1903 and the corner stone was laid on November 17th.  The edifice, located on the corner of Palestine and Corsicana streets, was completed the following spring and the first services in the building were held on April 17 1904, five months after the laying of the cornerstone.

The auditorium was described as being 48 ft. x 48 ft. and as seating 530. The building, which cost $15,000, also had a pastor's study, Sunday school room, "two recitation rooms and space for parlors above".  Several handwritten histories of the church mentioned the "pink toned Mexican Fiesta brick" and the "beautiful stained glass windows". The exterior of the JEF building was remodeled in the early 1950's and was stripped of all of the exterior elaborations and ornamentations.  The pressed steel roof was replaced by composition shingles.  Wafford Cain of Dallas purchased the building and razed it in March, 1960.  Some of the windows were used in the new church that replaced it.

MISSOURI AVENUE  METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1904
Ft. Worth, Texas
This church, now known as St. Andrews Methodist Church, was organized in the 1880's. The extant Flanders building was constructed in 1904 and was probably the third sanctuary, replacing a building designed by Sanguinet & Staats nine years earlier.  The Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey; Phase III, Fort Worth Southside describes the building as having "a rusticated stone base and yellow brick walls" and "is a picturesque composition of varied towers and turrets projecting from a hipped block".  The Sullivanesque frieze, often used by JEF, is present on all three towers but to a lesser extent on the main tower which also has an unusual shingle clad treatment on the whole surface, including the turrets. 

This building was included in a 1986 survey by Page, Anderson and Trumball who concluded that "with more complete documentation of the history and integrity of the sanctuary, it would appear to be eligible for the National Register."

The edifice was sold to the St. Andrews Methodist Church in the 1950's and was remodeled then with the most intrusive change being the installation of a dropped ceiling. The sanctuary, which was originally designed in the Akron plan, was also changed, moving the pulpit to the north side of the building on one of the longer walls with the pews arranged in a semi-circle around it. 
THIS PHOTOGRAPH OF THE MISSOURI AVENUE METHODIST CHURCH shows the circular narthex and gives evidence of the functionality of this design used by JEF in several of his churches. 

Photograph by Jim Willis
ROYSE CITY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1904
Royse City, Texas
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1905
Chickasha, Oklahoma
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1905
Pittsburg, Texas
MAIN STREET METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - 1905ca
Cleburne, Texas
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF SHERMAN - 1905
Sherman, Texas
Construction of this church began in 1904 under the pastorate of Rev. Harold Ray and the cost of the cost of the building was estimated to be $20,000.  During the course of the project, Rev. Ray fell ill and had to resign.  Rev. Rippey was appointed to replace him.  Rev. Ray's funeral was the first held in the new edifice.

The building was used from 1905 to 1957 when it was demolished.  The art glass windows were salvaged and used in the building that replaced it.

In 1903, the heirs of J. D. F McCasland; Albert F. McCasland, N. A. G. Royse and B. J. Royce, sold the property this building church now occupies to the church for $150.  The following year, the JEF edifice was constructed under the pastorate of Rev. D. H. Aston, encouraged by a generous donation of $1000 from Mrs. C. L. Jones.  The builder was Oscar William McGraw who moved to Texas as a child in 1881 from North Carolina.  His son later established the McGraw Construction Co. in Dallas.  Photographs of the completed church and parsonage appeared in the October 20th, 1904 issue of the Texas Christian Advocate.

Rev. John A. Lightfoot, a later pastor of the church prepared a study of the style and symbolic meaning of the building and in it stated:
"Our church, built in 1904, is a perfect style of Western Gothic architecture.  It is a vanishing form of church architecture.  It was used by our pioneer fathers to copy the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe, built of wood instead of stone in the 1830's and early 1920's (sic).  They had no flying buttress and some had three towers, some two, and some one.

"The three tower churches are Trinity Western Gothic.  Each tower symbolizes the trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Atop the towers are crosses, with four symbols which are symbolic of the four gospels.  The towers are square with each side standing for a gospel.  The bell tower, which is over ninety feet high… holds a pyramid with the four triangles pointing to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed in the four gospels.  The columns on the three porches are wooden and Western Corinthian in keeping with the Gothic tradition.  The sanctuary with the petition (sic) up, takes on the form of a cross, with the nave (central division of the church in which the congregation is seated) running east and west, with the chancel at the east end, which is true to Gothic tradition too."
THIS PHOTOGRAPH OF THE FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF ROYSE CITY, TX. was taken in the 1970's.  The main tower is clad with shingles and several rows of siding provide the visual representation of the frieze that was normally seen in cast stone on other JEF churches done in this style. 

Photograph courtesy of the First United Methodist Church of Royse City
THE TITLE BLOCK ON THIS RENDERING READS:

"First M.E. Church South
Terrell, Texas
Flanders & Skielvig, Archts.
Dallas, Texas"

The drawing was used by JEF  in advertisements even after the brief partnership with Skielvig was dissolvedOne of these ad's noted "Special Attention Given to the Designing of Modern Churches" and reference was made to M. E. Church, South buildings in Denison, McKinney, Clarksville, and Terrell.

Illustration courtesy of Texas Archives Division, Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas
The Christian church of Greenville is the first church built in the unique, recognizable, Flanders style.  The Gothic revival building is a transitional structure between the earlier Central Presbyterian Church of Dallas and the First Methodist Episcopal Church South of McKinney built two years later.
This is the first of his churches to use the pyramidal roofs on the lesser two towers, although he retained the use of a hexagonal roof on the main tower.  Of the towers roofs on the Central church, one was pyramidal, one was conical, and one was hexagonal.  The Main tower of the First Christian Church was the first that contained the elements that soon became a signature feature of Flanders' churches.
THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GREENVILLE,  TEXAS -  This is the only JEF
design that shows this extent of detailing in the brick and stone work.

Photograph by Jim Willis
THE CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF DALLAS - This illustration is from a C. Weichsel Co. postcard.
THE CHICKASHA CHURCH exhibits the same Chatauesque and Tudor elements found on Flanders' churches in Farmersville and Vernon, Texas. 

Postcard illustration, The South West News Company
EXTANT, RTHL
EXTANT,  RTHL
EXTANT
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF PITTSBURG - 1905
Pittsburg, Texas
This church was constructed in the same time period as the Methodist church designed by Flanders in Pittsburg.  In a 1905 article in the Pittsburg Gazette it is stated that the new church building was "modeled after the First Presbyterian Church of Corsicana" and indeed the two buildings are almost identical with only small variations in the roofline. An interesting feature of this structure, and the one in Corsicana, is the single story extension of the sanctuary between the main tower and the tower on the right. This area, capped with a Neoclassical balustrade, is lined with art glass windows, filling the interior with colored light. This area, adjoining the entry, was probably a narthex.

The cost of the building was $12,000 and the seating capacity was listed as 800 "with ordinary seating", suggesting the use of the Akron Plan.  The exterior was red pressed brick with stone trim.  Construction of the building was superintended by the pastor, Rev. E. M. Francis.

The extant Central Christian Church of Sherman was built in 1905 at 401 Travis Street.  It is this church that tradition associates with the 1899 Central Christian Church of Greenville as having been designed by the same architect. The front elevation is similar to Trinity with the ample covered entries. The Stick Style gable is unusual as are the Second Empire dormers on the smaller tower. 

The exterior of this church was remodeled in 1964.  The towers were removed and the building was united under a single roofline. The brick and stone were painted in an attempt to unite them and simplify the appearance. Many original details still remain on the side of the structure, particularly in the brickwork. The remodeling of the church did not include the interior and the sanctuary remains much as it was when JEF designed it. 

This Cleburne church, built on the corner of North Main and Willingham streets, is one of the better-proportioned examples of this style, utilizing the curved portico between the two front towers. This is the only church of this size where the Shingle Style gable is found although it was used on several smaller churches.

The photograph shows that the building was well outfitted with lightening rods but that did not protect it from all of natures forces.  One February evening in 1917, a horrendous rain, hail, and wind storm hit the city and caused considerable damage, including the toppling of the church tower. Several of JEF's churches met this fate and in Cleburne, as with the others, the tower was not rebuilt to its' original height.
MCKENZIE MEMORIAL METHODIST CHURCH SOUTH  of Clarksville stood on a corner in a pleasant residential neighborhood.  It was named in honor of Dr. J.W.P. McKenzie, the founder of  the church.

Postcard illustration by Central Post Card Company, Fort. Scott, Kansas.
THIS METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF VERNON, TEXAS compares to the 1903 church in Farmersville and the 1905 church in Chickasha, Oklahoma. 

Postcard illustration, Williams & Haffner Co., Publ.
THIS IS THE 1910 METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF VERNON, TEXAS that replaced the building above.  There is more on this building later.
THE 1904 METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF ATHENS, TEXAS

Postcard illustration published by Matthews Pharmacy of Athens.
THIS JEF RENDERING OF THE PITTSBURG METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH appeared in the Texas Christian Advocate in 1904 when plans for the construction of the edifice were announced. 

Illustration is a Flanders drawing and is used courtesy of Bridwell Library,
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
In 1903, the East Texas Methodists held their annual conference in the new, Flanders designed, church in Bryan, Texas.  Reverend Elijah L. Shettles was the pastor in Bryan and was responsible for the construction of the new edifice.  The following year when Rev. Shettles was transferred to Pittsburg he soon began to promote plans to build a similar church there.  The congregation approved the appointment of a building committee and Rev. Shettles later wrote; "I think I had twenty on the committee, including a banker, a dry-goods and hardware merchant, a grocer, a newspaper man, a lawyer or two, and maybe some others".  By March of 1904, the property was purchased and Flanders had been retained to draw the plans.  The cornerstone was laid in June and the dedication of the building took place on the second day of the following April.  The Pittsburg church is one of the finest extant Flanders Prairie Style churches, and the only one with the original interior.  A caring congregation is responsible for the excellent condition of the building that has been well maintained throughout the years.  A $163,000 restoration project, completed in 1985, corrected many of the structural deficiencies caused by eighty years of wear and added some additional elements, including insulation and carpeting

In the design of the Pittsburg church, JEF seems to have moved ahead in time much further than the two to three years that actually separated the construction of the two buildings, Pittsburg and Bryan.  The exterior has fewer elaborations and the lines of the building are cleaner and simpler.  The smaller size of the building gives the central tower a more dominant role and the expanded use of the Sullivanesque frieze becomes a major part of the building's exterior appearance.  The bricks are a bright ochre color that contrasts with use of the quiet gray/tan tone of the St. Louis pressed brick that JEF used on Trinity, and on many other buildings.  The entry at the base of the tower is unusual with steps on both sides of the portico.  This caused the front belt course to extend and emphasize the horizontal lines more effectively

Inside, trapezoidal art glass windows surround the choir gallery and these windows are illuminated by both natural and artificial light.  This feature was used by JEF in a dome in St.John's church in Stamford, Texas and in the Navarro County Courthouse in Corsicana.

In 1983, Eileen Wilson Coffman prepared a detailed study of this building which she entitled; James E. Flanders' First United Methodist Church, Pittsburg, Texas. This was published in Perspective, the journal of the Society of Architectural Historians / Texas Chapter, Volume XIII, Number 1.  In this paper, Ms. Coffman presents a complete analysis of all of the architectural features of the building and compares it to other Flanders churches of the same style such as Bryan and Trinity, in Dallas.  She also suggests, of Flanders, that; "To label him as a practitioner of a single style somewhat robs his buildings of their natural place in the progressive development of Texas architecture"

THIS DRAWING OF THE PITTSBURG METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH PLAN shows Flanders departure from the Akron plan he normally used although he did retain the moveable wall to expand the sanctuary space when needed.

Perspective, Society of Architectural Historians, Texas Chapter, Volume XIII, Number 1, Drawing by J. M. Coffman.
EXTENSIVE USE OF PRAIRIE STYLE ELEMENTS are evident in this detail of the main tower.
Photograph by Jim Willis
THE MAIN STREET METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH OF CLEBURNE, TEXAS Shortly after its' construction about 1905.

Postcard illustration, publisher unknown
AFTER THE STORM OF FEBRUARY, 1917

Illustration courtesy of  the Layland Museum, Cleburne, Texas.
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF PITTSBURG
Postcard illustration No. D2257 published by Mrs. Belle A. Taylor, Pittsburg, Texas, Made in Germany
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF SHERMAN as it appeared in 1913

Postcard illustration, publisher unknown.
EXTANT, RTHL
EXTANT
Illustration courtesy of Texas Archives Division, Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas
Postcard illustration - publication unknown
BOTH DRAWINGS FROM "TRINITY METHODIST CHURCH: A HISTORICAL SURVEY AND GUIDELINES FOR IT'S ADAPTIVE USE AS A MUSICAL CONSERVATORY AND PERFORMING ARTS CENTER" Bobby Joe Wise, University of Texas at Arlington.
"The structure is dominated by the entrance tower and gabled cruciform roof of fish scale shakes. The interior has a spacious auditorium with elevated choir and pulpit and an organ chamber framed with rich cast stone ornamentation. Brilliant stained glass windows in gothic shapes give counterpoint to the severity of the walls.  Very fine materials and workmanship characterize the building.  As a rare example of Prairie Style architecture, this edifice has enhanced the religious and cultural life of the city for several generations."
CHAPTER EIGHT - PAGE 2 of 4