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1443-1451 N PROSPECT AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

1443-1451 N PROSPECT AVE

Architecture and History Inventory
1443-1451 N PROSPECT AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:First Church of Christ Scientist
Other Name:Renaissance Place
Reference Number:104972
Location (Address):1443-1451 N PROSPECT AVE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1907
Survey Date:19862010
Historic Use:church
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Limestone
Architect:S. S. Beman
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: First Church of Christ, Scientist
National Register Listing Date:3/8/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History.

P.E. Possen was the builder.

An excellent example of the Classical Revival, First Church is expressive of the restrained and severe form of the style. Built of Indiana limestone, its facade is dominated by a massive pediment, Doric Order portico, and punctuated openings.

Resurveyed as part of Milwaukee Downtown Connector Arch/History Survey (2010), Prepared by Heritage Research.

A fire in 1907 destroyed a nearly completed version of this early Christian Scientist Church. Solon Spencer Beman's design took its meticulous proportioning and careful detailing from classic Roman architecture. The symmetrical main façade, faced with smooth limestone, is dominated by a wide, projecting pavilion with a recessed portico and a return cornice topping the gable. The fluted Doric columns echo Greek architectural forms, while the large arched window above the entrance is Roman. Inside, the vast meeting hall has classical vaulting and Ionic columns.

Christian Scientists typically chose secular styles to differentiate their buildings from the churches of mainstream religious bodies. The rational, stoic architecture of the ancient world suited church members who perceived Christian Science as a highly intellectual movement. As a convert to Christian Science, Beman designed other Christian Science churches in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. In 1906, he was advisor on the design of the Christian Scientists' "Mother Church" in Boston.

This Christian Science congregation has disbanded. In the 1980s, the church was converted into a private conference center.
Bibliographic References:Permit. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript. Historic Milwaukee Inc., Sherman Park Pride in Craftsmanship 13th Annual Spaces & Traces Tour Saturday, May 14, 1994, Souvenir Booklet.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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