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Jacoby in Fulton

January 19, 2012

Driving back from a meeting in Jefferson City, I had some time and it was a pretty day, so I got off the interstate and went on a side trip through Fulton, home of Westminster College. The campus is where Winston Churchill gave the famous speech where he coined the term ‘Iron Curtain’. What does our B.A.B. have to do with the former British PM? The Winston Churchill Memorial is listed in the Jacoby Art Glass project records. This is another situation where I surprised by what I found.

Churchill Memorial Exterior

The building was easy to find and extremely unique. It is a white stone church sitting on a grey limestone plinth. There is an extensive Churchill museum in the base and the church above is the campus chapel.

Museum Entrance

What struck me was that this church was unlike anything I had seen in this region and nothing like the style of the rest of the campus buildings. It just didn’t seem to come from small town Missouri. Inside the museum is an exhibit off to the side about how this building came to this site. The church was originally designed by Christopher Wren in 1672 and was located in old London. There is a great deal of information on good ol’ Wikipedia, but long story short, the church was one of many bombed during WWII and was to be demolished.

On this map, the church is indicated in orange near the bottom right hand corner

The college had what was left of the building dismantled and shipped to the Fulton campus and after 5 years of reconstruction, it was dedicated on May 7, 1969, over 300 years after it first opened.

They appropriately use the Phoenix as the motif on their linens and vestments

Jacoby’s part of the project was, of course, the windows, which were completely destroyed in the original church.  These are clear glass, hand blown by the famous Blenko company. Known more now for their glass vessels, Mr Oppliger told me that Blenko was consider the highest quality glass for windows. When they decided to sell the company, it was partly their collection of Blenko glass that made them of value to other stained glass companies. On to the pictures:

Church interior

The many large windows of clear glass flood the space with light

The hand blown glass has a lot of character and looks like we're under water, the frames are very delicate

I could not find who was the architect for the restoration and reconstruction, but if I do, I’ll update the post. It was masterfully done. The details are beautiful and the craftsmanship of the highest quality.

Our B.A.B. is an adventure and has given us the opportunity to explore design and construction challenges. These little history detours, too, have been inspiring and have enriched my appreciation for what and who has come through here.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue permalink
    January 23, 2012 3:49 pm

    New information from Jane Gleason by way of Esley Hamilton: A book that Jane has on the church’s move says that Fred Sternberg was the architect on this side of the pond that designed the undercroft and handled the reconstruction of the church. Esley mentioned that Sternberg designed the Bonhomme Presbyterian Church on Conway Road, visible from 40/64 west of Woods Mill Road.

  2. January 20, 2012 12:56 pm

    I’m enjoyed your blog post and thanks for visiting the National Churchill Museum (of which I am the director!). The architect responsible for the reconstruction project is MArshall Sisson from the UK. He passed away in 1978. Please let me know if you have other questions as I’d be delighted to help you answer them. If you’re in Fulton again please let me know as I’d love to meet you and show you around.

    • Sue permalink
      January 20, 2012 4:17 pm

      Thanks for the clarification, Now that you say it, it makes sense that the architect would have worked from the UK instead of locally. We’ll take you up on your offer- we love behind the scenes tours! Plus, after spending all of my time in the church space, I wish I had more time for the museum. It looks to be a comprehensive look at Churchill’s life.

      One question- how in the world did you find our little blog?

  3. DBY permalink
    January 19, 2012 11:11 pm

    Another cool fact (not sure if I saw it in the wiki), is that some of the church element are from ancient roman structures that Wren “re-purposed”.

    • Sue permalink
      January 20, 2012 12:12 pm

      So he was the renovation architect of his day. He designed this one using the ruins from a earlier church that was destroyed in the great fire of London. I guess Architects had to claim ‘expertise’ even back then.

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