Thursday: Esley Hamilton Talk on St. Louis County’s Mid-Century Modern Religious Buildings

Thursday, May 3
Church of the Open Word, 1040 Dautel Lane, Creve Coeur
6:30 p.m. — Tour of the Church of the Open Word
7:00 p.m. — Lecture by Esley Hamilton

Modern STL, in conjunction with The Church of the Open Word, Garden Chapel, will proudly present a talk by Esley Hamilton, Preservation Historian for St. Louis County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, who will discuss the recent county-wide survey of Mid-Century Modern religious buildings. The program takes place Thursday May 3, at 7:00 p.m. preceded by a tour of the Garden Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served during the tour and after the program.

The United Methodist Church in Kirkwood (1964, Schmidt, Perlsee & Black) is one of the County religious buildings included in the survey.

More than 400 churches were built in St. Louis County between 1940 and 1970. A surprisingly large number of them proved to be significant for their architecture. In particular, many congregations chose the style that is coming to be known as Mid-Century Modern. Their architects produced some of their best work in these buildings. Hamilton will review the highlights of this study in the setting of one of the noteworthy churches of that era, the Church of the Open Word, located at 1040 Dautel Lane, off Olive Boulevard, in Creve Coeur. The church was built in 1958 and was designed by Schmidt & Black.

The Church of the Open Word was designated a Landmark by the St. Louis County Historic Building Commission in 2011 to recognize it as an important building of exceptional significance for the quality of its architecture and worthy of preservation.

The tour will include the architecture with its interior and exterior stone walls and wood roof beams with free standing wood columns and the glass enclosed stone chancellery and repository overlooking an enclosed garden. The exterior gardens and nature trails express the harmony between the natural world and the spiritual world.

The building and gardens are open most days for mediation and prayer. The chapel and gardens offer our acoustically attractive surroundings for non-denomination weddings, concerts, book signings, lectures and programs. For more information, visit

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