The Origin of All Churches That Look Like “This”

23 Mar

For those of you who live in former territories of the British Empire, you probably have seen a church that looks like this one every once in a while. Did you ever wonder why? Well, it was because this design was the best-selling model in the catalogue back in the last three centuries. The original one called St. Martin-in-the-Fields still sits by the Trafalgar Square in London and it was built around 1724. The design was proven to be very successful because its tall tower (steeple) located by the front “porch” (portico) makes the church very visible in a crowded area. Having a dome may have a similar effect but it costs a lot more to build and to raise the dome high enough to be visible on the streets. Eventually this model was exported to the rest of the British Empire  such as USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

As shown in the  two photo above is the Ninth Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland Michigan. Sorry that the tower was covered by the trees in the front. This church is indeed a very fine “reproduction” recreated in wood. Painted in totally white, the church gives a great contrast with the perfectly mowed lawn in the surroundings.

I have also added the photo below to show of the popularity of the St. Martin in the classical world. I came across this painting with St. Martin in the background when I was visiting the Toledo Museum of Art.

st. martin-in-the-fields, trafalgar sq, london – 3:43pm, aug 27, 2003
9th st christian reformed church, 57 e 10th st, holland, michigan – 5:06pm, may 22, 2010 / 4:14pm, aug 7, 2010
painting @toledo museum of art, 2445 monroe st, toledo, ohio – 4:14pm, sep 12, 2011

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