Mount Calvary Episcopal Church, Daniel R. Stiltz

D. R. Stiltz carte de visite photograph of Mount Calvary Episcopal Church, Baltimore When Daniel Reed Stiltz (1837-1903) took this photograph of Mount Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church in 1864 (as it was called then), the church still had its steeple, bringing the height of the structure to 145 feet. A photo on the church’s website, bottom row, center, in their “oldies” gallery, shows the steeple toppled in a blizzard on March 1, 1914, and while the bell remains, the steeple was never replaced.

Robert Cary Long Jr.  (1810-1849), creator of the gates of Green Mount Cemetery and the Patapsco Female Institute among many other public and private buildings,  designed the gothic revival Mount Calvary Church in 1844-1845. Bishop Whittingham laid the corner stone for the new church on September 10, 1844 (Baltimore Sun, 10  September 1844, p. 2).

The church was originally Episcopal, but long deplored for its “Romish” ways. Yet it had a prosperous and distinguished following. Robert E. Lee is said to have worshiped there while living in Baltimore with his family. The congregation finally voted to join the Roman Catholic Church in 2010 and in 2012 was admitted as a “Roman Catholic parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter,” a special dispensation for Amercian Anglican churches by Pope Benedict XVI.

Mount Calvary was also controversial for the missions its clergy undertook to Baltimore’s African-Americans. Most identified with this outreach were Anglo-Irish immigrant Reverend Joseph Richey (1843-1877) rector of Mount Calvary from 1872 until his death, and his assistant,  Reverend Calbraith Bourn Perry (1846-1914).  In 1884 Perry published an account of the work, Twelve Years Among the Colored People: A Record of the Work of Mount Calvary, Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, Baltimore.

This photograph is one of four Stiltz architectural cartes de visite  I own that I believe were part of a larger series he issued in 1864, the date of copyright on the back. Stiltz marketed himself as a “view photographer.” His office was upstairs at Butler, Perrigo & Way’s, 163 W. Baltimore Street.

The comments written on the bottom margin of these cartes refer to architectural details, so it’s possible these photographs belonged to an architect or builder who kept them for reference purposes.

The church is relatively small and unprepossessing from the outside, but the interior is quite beautiful, as shown in these photos taken by Stephen Schnurr. Because Stiltz photographed the church from ground level, when surrounding trees were in full leaf, the exterior is not as clear as in the photo shot from above (in the church’s online “oldies” gallery), probably from the same period.

According to an admiring Baltimore Sun description of the church’s design, published 19 February 1846, all of the interior details were designed by Long himself.

The stained glass was supervised by “Mr. Stephenson, superintendent of the glass-staining at Trinity Church, New York.” The height of the interior was enhanced by the use of an exposed beam structure; the pulpit, desk, and chancel railing are, said the writer, “all of solid walnut;” originally, it seems, the ceiling was painted a dark walnut hue to match the furnishings.

The effect seems to have been particularly striking.

“The whole effect of the dark roof and pews and the tinted atmosphere thrown in by the colored glass is so different from what we have been accustomed to see in our modern churches that it takes some little time for the eye to grow familiar with the intention of the architect.  But the longer we remain on the premises the more imposing and satisfactory is the effect produced” (Baltimore Sun, 19 February 1846).

The artisans who created the church’s beautiful decorations, including its chancel altarpiece,  Christ the King side altar and the Our Lady’s Shrine, are not mentioned.

Retired architect Jim Wollon, a member of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation who worked for the church on ADA improvements some years ago, had a chance to explore the building and its history quite thoroughly.

Two other firms made substantial changes to the church, says Wollon. “Niernsee & Neilson added a larger nave with a very shallow chancel and T. Butler Ghequier (Long’s nephew) added a very deep chancel that penetrated the first row house just north of the church. . . . The colorful tiles of the choir and chancel were added by Ghequier and made by Minton of England, very typical in about last third of 19th century, [in] churches, major government buildings including the US Capitol, important residences; usually limited to entrances.”

Wollon thinks “the tiles in the chancel and choir are original, the long and wide marble steps all the way up to the altar.  Below the steps down into the aisles between the pews — modern.  Not sure I can see the tiles just below the steps down to another set of steps and a wooden rail, maybe a Communion rail; [they] may be replacements.”

The shallow chancel created by Niernsee & Neilson had a large, triangular window above the altar. That window was installed, says Wollon, “early to mid 1850s.  That window is still there . . .  but high and on the left side of the chancel, with one of matching size and shape but later 1880s glass is on the right side of the chancel, the Ghequier period.”

The Niernsee & Neilson chancel and window can be seen on the bottom row, far left, of the “oldies” photo gallery on the church’s website.

Notable on the margin of the carte are notes in period ink. Wollon explains: “The exterior brick was painted red, a darker red than the natural bricks . . . Typical finish in the 19th century. . . . In modern times all [the exterior] was sandblasted to remove the paint, out-of-style in the 20th century.”

In 1849, Long’s already brilliant but short career was cut off prematurely when he died suddenly of cholera while visiting  Morristown, New Jersey. Although it has not been confirmed that Long is buried there, there is a stone erected in Long’s memory in the cemetery of Morristown Presbyterian Church, Morristown, New Jersey.

View a digitized version of a complete Minton Tiles catalog.

Learn more about the work of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation.

Special thanks to Jim Wollon for his enthusiastic help with details about the Mount Calvary Church’s architecture and interior design history.

With Compliments of D. R. Stiltz & Co.

When one thinks of vintage views of Baltimore, stereographs are the form that comes first to mind.

Daniel Reed Stiltz (1837-1903) may have sold photographs to stereoview publishers–most are anonymous–but he specialized, at least while in Baltimore, in carte de visite-sized views of churches and important buildings.

This 1864 photograph of  St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Franklin Square shows the church still under construction.

Originally designed by Niernsee and Neilson and dedicated in 1853, the church was not finished for 15 years when the board brought in  J. W. Priest.

Priest, a proponent of the Ecclesiological Society’s belief that modern church design should reflect those of medieval English churches, added the small crenelated tower.

The Maryland Historical Society has several of Stiltz’s cartes available for viewing on line, including the old Baltimore court-house at Calvert and Lexington, the Front Street Theater.

St. Luke’s is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Several photographs of the church, as well as details about the history of the design and building of St. Luke’s, are visible via Google Books in The Gothic Revival and American Church Architecture (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968), by Phoebe B. Stanton.

Born in Baltimore, according to Maryland photography historian Ross Kelbaugh Daniel Reed Stiltz trained in daguerreotypy under Jesse Whitehurst.

During the Civil War, Stiltz, who served as a private in Company H of Purnell’s Legion, Maryland Infantry, worked as an army photographer (Lycoming County Genealogical Society).

He married Mary Elizabeth Marshall in 1861, and by 1870, they had settled in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, where he continued to operate a studio on 4th Street, and then founded a business called the National Copying Company.

He and Mary, who belonged to Williamsport’s beautiful and historic Christ Episcopal Church, had four children, Helen, Mary (Stiltz) Sergeant, Chester, Stanley (who lived only two years), and civil engineer Daniel Dorey Stiltz (1876-1913). Daniel Stiltz Sr. died on 15 June 1903, and is buried in Wildwood Cemetery, Williamsport, along with his wife, their daughter Helen, and their sons Daniel, Stanley and Chester.

Thanks to the Lycoming County Genealogical Society  for their help with documentation of Daniel Reed Stiltz’s career and with finding his family’s graves in Wildwood Cemetery.

Hunt’s Methodist Church, 1908

A Miss Clara Miller mailed this real photo post card (RPPC) of Hunt’s Methodist Church in the Green Spring Valley area of Baltimore County to a Miss Clara Chew, Brunswick, Md. in December 1908.

According to the church’s historical sketch, a group of Methodists began meeting at the home of Phineas Hunt here in 1773. The stone building was erected in 1874 on the site of several previous log meeting houses.

The church, located near the junction of Joppa and Old Court roads, is considered to be located in Towson, but the church itself refers to its location as “Riderwood.”The Baltimore County Historical Sociey erected a  historical marker to remember this spot as one of the earliest Methodist meeting-places in Maryland.

The structure has clearly undergone expansion and renovation since this homemade photograph was taken.

According to the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, it was rebuilt in 1933 following a 1932 fire.

Immanuel Episcopal Church, Glencoe, Maryland

Mary Bosley Matthews Mitchell (1888-1978) sent this real photo postcard of her church to her friend, Grace Guthrie of Monkton Maryland, in 1947.

Mary Mitchell, the daughter of physician and farmer Frederick Gibbons Mitchell and Rebecca (Gorsuch) Mitchell, grew up on Retreat Farm, on Glencoe Road, in Baltimore County.

The farm came into the family via Rebecca Gorsuch, daughter of prominent county farmer Dickinson Gorsuch (1827-1882?). Retreat Farm was part of the extensive Gorsuch land holdings in northern Baltimore County,  amassed throughout the 19th century by merchant John M. Gorsuch and his descendants.

Mary Mitchell may have taken this photograph of her church, Immanuel Episcopal, Glencoe, herself, using a special amateur camera designed for creating postcards. Since we cannot see the stamp box, we can tell very little about when this card was made. (For an excellent guide to the history of real photo postcards, visit the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City .

Mary Mitchell remained single and lived quietly at Retreat Farm until the mid-1950s. She and her parents are buried in Immanuel’s cemetery.  Apparently, all that is left of the structures on the farm is the historic stone Gorsuch barn , now owned by a stoneware auction house.

Mary had an infamous lineage. Her grandfather, Dickinson Gorsuch, and her great-grandfather, Edward Gorsuch, were at the center of an explosive episode in the history of slavery.

In 1851 Dickinson  accompanied his father, Edward Gorsuch, and other male relations, on a journey to Christiana, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to retrieve several escaped Gorsuch slaves. The party was armed with a writ backed by the Fugitive Slave Law, which gave slave owners the right to reclaim runaway slaves in any state, free or not.

The disastrous attempted assault on the Parker home, where one of the escaped men was hiding, sparked violence against African-Americans throughout the area,  and became known as the notorious  “Christiana Riot.” Edward was killed; Dickinson was seriously wounded.

The incident sparked widespread discussion throughout the country. Frederick Douglass wrote of the episode in his newspaper in an article entitled “Freedom’s Battle at Christiana;” imagined depictions of the scene were published widely. Some historians hold that the violence and resulting trial raised a new awareness in the north of the far-reaching impact of the Fugitive Slave Law and moved the nation closer to war.

Old Mount Zion Lutheran Church, Feagaville, Maryland

This frame church, located on the Jefferson Pike just outside Frederick, Maryland, lost its tower and other features when it was converted into apartments about 1950.  Does it still exist?

According to the Feagaville Survey District document that was filed in 1980, the church was built in 1880. The building to the right was a stone schoolhouse built ca. 1840-1850; perhaps it had been whitewashed. The hand-drawn map accompanying the survey document locates the church just north of Feagaville Lane.

A newer, brick church, surrounded by its cemetery, thrives just a few miles away at Mount Zion and Mount Phillip roads.

The history of this church is confusing. The History of Frederick County, Maryland, Volume One, published in 1910, speaks of the church being built 1819, but says it was a stone structure. There is no mention of a frame structure. But, as mentioned above, the 1980 survey says this frame church was built in 1880. The History mentions a new stone church being built on the site in 1885 (p. 503)–but nothing about a brick church.

A contemporary photograph taken by Jody Brumage shows a stone above the new church door on Mount Phillip Road with the date 1885.

Stereoview of Christ Protestant Episcopal Church

This stereoview of Christ Protestant Episcopal Church, St. Paul and Chase streets, Baltimore, was probably published by William M. Chase in the 1870s. The view looks east from E. Chase Street, toward St. Paul Street.

Christ Church, organized in 1797, was the second Episcopal church in Baltimore. The congregation occupied a variety of locations before the present church building was constructed at a cost of $125,000 (Henry Elliot Shepherd, A History of Baltimore, Maryland, S. B. Nelson publisher, 1898, pp. 217-218).

E. Francis Baldwin and Bruce Price designed the Gothic Revival structure in the Mount Vernon area in 1869, when the new ecclesiastical architectural style was first being introduced into the U.S.  According to The Architecture of Baltimore: A Pictorial History, this particular church’s style was known as French or Norman Gothic:

Its details are elegantly restrained and carried out in rough-faced white marble–narrow lancet windows, carved stone trefoils, pointed-arch doorways and window lintels, stone columns with leafy medieval capitals, and carved stone rosettes. The massing is symmetrical with a tall main tower and secondary smaller towers and spires (199).

This beautiful and historic church structure has been occupied by an independent non-denominational African-American congregation since the mid-1990s. Today the church is called the New Refuge Deliverance Cathedral.

Christ Church is located three blocks directly north of Mount Vernon Place, and is part of a historic neighborhood rich in cultural and architectural landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the Walters Art Gallery.

The fashionable Mount Vernon neighborhood developed in the 1830s in the elegant streets and parks laid out around the Washington Monument by Charles and William Howard on their father’s former estate, Belvidere (Architecture of Baltimore, 118). The area remained the epicenter of wealthy and cultured Baltimore until the late nineteenth century.

View a contemporary photograph of Christ Church taken by the author of the Monument City blog.

Church of the Holy Trinity, Oxford, Maryland

Cartes de visite and cabinet card photographs of notable buildings and places in Maryland are always exciting to find.

This cabinet card by Aloise Reiser of Easton, Maryland depicts the one of Talbot County’s better known churches, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity on South Morris Street, Oxford Neck.

According to the church’s brief historical sketch, wealthy Talbot County landowner General Tench Tilghman of Plimhimmon was the driving force behind the establishment of a third church in the parish in 1852, but the war and the population loss brought about by the closure of the Maryland Military Academy left construction to languish incomplete until the end of the nineteenth century.

The building, designed by influential ecclesiastical architect Richard Upjohn, was completed in 1894. According to Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers, the photographer, Reiser, was working in Easton from 1894-1897, so it seems plausible to suppose this photograph was taken during that period.

An Aloise Reiser, born about 1868, Bavaria, is listed in the 1880 census of Chapel, Talbot County, Md., son of carpenter Johann Reiser; this is the only trace of the photographer I have found in vital records.

In Where Land and Water Intertwine: An Architectural History of Talbot County, Maryland, historian Christopher Weeks says the church was completed and dedicated in 1892, without “the tower called for in Upjohn’s original plan” (Weeks, 212).

The church, according to Weeks, underwent some alterations after it was rebuilt following a 1945 fire: “the entrance was relocated from the north to the west facade with a circular window above; and the chancel was enlarged.”

This view is from behind the church, looking in through the windows above the altar and chancel. The Easton Diocese of the Episcopal Church has a small modern photograph that offers a slightly fuller view of the church from a similar angle.

Chasing the First Congregational Church, Baltimore

I seem to be drawn to Eutaw Place. When I purchased this steroview by Baltimore photographer and view publisher William M. Chase, I didn’t know the church it depicts, the First Congregational Church of Baltimore, was once located there, between Hoffman and Dolphin streets.

As far as I have been able to determine, the building no longer exists. The church was organized in 1865 and an edifice built at this location in 1866 (Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, 552). Designed by architect Thomas C. Kennedy, the First Congregational Church building shown here was dedicated on 24 October 1882.

A detailed description in the Sun coverage of the dedication made it possible to identify the church building, characterized by an unusual octagonal center, as that designed by Kennedy:

“The building is of Falls road stone, with red sandstone trimmings. The centre and two sides have high gables, with large windows, filled with colored glass. The auditorium is octagon in shape, 60 feet each way. The entrance vestibules, minister’s study and organ chamber occupy the alternate angles of the octagon, from which they are separated by bold and lofty arches.  The pulpit platform fills a recessed chancel next the chapel, leaving the entire area of the octagon for the congregation. The floor has a gradual incline towards the pulpit, from which the aisles radiate.  The pews are arranged in circles with a seating capacity of 325. The open timber roof is [unreadable] with yellow pine. In the centre of the roof is a ventilator opening to the apex of the roof, through which impure air may be drawn off. Pure air is admitted by vertical tubes” (Baltimore Sun, 25 October 1882).

In 1900, this congregation united with the Associate Reformed Church to become the Associate Congregational Church of Baltimore, which had built a Charles E. Carson-designed church at 24 W. Preston Street (now owned by a Greek Orthodox congregation).

A large part of this block of N. Eutaw is now occupied by a number of ca. 1960s Maryland state office buildings.

Charles Street First Methodist Episcopal Church

This William M. Chase stereoview of the Greek Revival-style Charles Street Methodist Episcopal Church (aka Mt.Vernon M.E. Church), northeast corner of Charles and Fayette streets, no longer exists.

According to a reference I found on the wonderful Baltimore Architecture Project website, this church was built in 1844 and torn down ca. 1885. This reference text, a slim 1982 softcover labor of love by Carleton Jones called Lost Baltimore Landmarks: A Portfolio of Vanished Buildings, is well worth acquiring for those interested in identifying Baltimore architecture.

Scharf’s History of Baltimore City and County relates that the Light Street M. E. congregation bought the Charles Street church building in 1869 in order to make way for the extension of German Street.

It is well-known Baltimore architectural and Methodist history that this congregation, led by Rev. John Franklin Goucher, commissioned  Stanford White to build a new church beyond North (Boundary) Avenue at 22nd and St. Paul streets in 1882.

In 1884 the new church, dubbed Lovely Lane Methodist Episcopal Church after the congregation’s pre-Light Street location, opened adjacent to the site of the future Goucher College (Baltimore: Its History and People, Vol. 3, ed. Clayton Coleman Hall, 1912, p. 546)

Based on the style of Chase’s mark and the orange color of the mount, I’m guessing this photo was taken in the 1870s. Note the horse-car in the foreground, the horse’s figure blurred by its motion. Horse-cars were introduced to Baltimore in 1859, and were in use until replaced by electric trolleys ca. 1890.

Name That Church, Mr. Chase

Identifying the church depicted in this William M. Chase stereograph was a bit of a challenge.

Like many urban churches, Ascension Protestant Episcopal Church, aka the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Ascension, has gone through fires, rebuilding, and changes in name.

The Norman gothic revival building, located at Lafayette Avenue and Arlington Street in Baltimore, was designed by Hutton and Murdoch, and opened in 1869. It burned to the ground on 12 May 1873 and was rebuilt and reopened in January of 1874 (Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, pg. 522.)

Here is a photograph, owned by the Maryland Historical Society, of Ascension as it appeared in 1910. Note the missing spire.

The church was sold to the African Protestant Episcopal Church and became St. James Episcopal Church Lafayette Square in 1932 (Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress) .

The difficulty in identifying this church involved more than a name change. On the back of the stereoview, Chase lists all the views available in the series. The view on the reverse was supposed to be underlined, but it is not.  Only two churches are listed: the famous Mount Vernon Place Episcopal Church and the First Presbyterian Church, both of which are much more ornately high Gothic Revival than the one depicted.

An additional difficulty: the spire of the tower was apparently removed at some point, possibly when the church was rebuilt in 1873-1874. Some buildings listed on the back of this stereoview, such as the Second Empire-style City Hall, were not finished until 1875, making it difficult to pinpoint the date this card was published.

An article from the January 5th, 1874 Baltimore Sun about the reopening of the rebuilt church mentions that “the spire . . . has not been rebuilt as yet.” This strongly suggests the photograph was taken between 1869 and May 1873.