St. Mark Church
1607-1627 Locust Street
Built 1848-1851
John Notman (1810-1865)




Photo: From Moses King's Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians, 1901.






St. Mark Church was commissioned by a High Anglican congregation who wanted a correct High Gothic revival church and wrote to the Ecclesiological Society in England for advice regarding the design. The congregation was sent plans by R.C. Carpenter, although they had little direct influence on John Notman’s final design. Scottish-born Notman, who also designed the Athenaeum, was one of Philadelphia’s most notable architects in the nineteenth-century.

One of the country’s earliest and most correct examples of High Gothic revival, St. Mark was rare in its urban setting. Measuring about 147’ by 60’, it included a side tower and spire and featured a three-aisle plan with rectangular chancel. Following the Ecclesiological ideals for churches, it was also built according to strict rules.

The workmen were told a church is a house of god and were instructed to refrain from cursing, using “lightness of speech” or engaging in any act that “may seem irreverent” such as singing, whistling or eating within its walls.The cornerstone was laid on the Feast of St. Mark in 1848 and the first service held on October 21, 1849 but the building was not consecrated until May 1850 and the spike and tower weren’t completed until 1851.

Sources Cited:

  • Greiff, Constance. John Notman, Architect 1810-1865. Philadelphia: The Athenaeum, 1979.
  • King, Moses, Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians. New York: Blanchard Press, Isaac H. Blanchard Co., 1901. 
  • Massey, James, ed. Two Centuries of Philadelphia Architectural Drawings, Catalogue of the Exhibit Held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Society of Architectural Historians and The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1964.
  • Webster, Richard. Philadelphia Preserved. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1976.
  • White, Theo B., ed. Philadelphia Architecture in the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 195.
  • HABS/HAER/HALS database: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/habs_haer/
  • Philadelphia Buildings and Architects web site: http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/20379

 



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