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12/R365 - First Baptist Church steeple - Cookeville, Tennessee

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posted by alias J.L. Ramsaur Photography on Thursday 13th of January 2022 06:06:58 PM

American church architecture originated from European influence as the early American settlers brought with them what they had seen in Europe, which established their ideas of proper church design. These ideas came from the great churches in England and other areas in Europe that, to them, were correct “church architecture.” Certainly their churches in their new home should not be lacking in grandness or detail. Georgian architecture was the style of the 18th century, especially from the reign of King George I, who ascended the throne in 1711, until the American Revolution (King George III). Buildings during this period closely adhered to English precedents, which were made accessible through printed books on architecture, such as the Book of Architecture by English architect James Gibbs. The Georgian style was relatively consistent from Maine through the Southern states. Probably the two most influential European church architects, who are responsible for the traditional church architecture that we most associate with today’s steeple and church designs, were English architects James Gibbs and Sir Christopher Wren. Much of America’s early architecture was styled from their work overseas. These early church architects designed grand cathedrals and churches that had intricate, soaring steeples. The vertical lines of the steeple helped to visually enhance the lines of the church, directing the viewers’ eyes vertically to the heavens. Obviously, this verticality complements part of the mission of the church, to keep us in a heavenly frame of mind, but from an architectural standpoint, this vertical lift gives the architecture a more graceful and pleasing look. The shorter the building, the more squat the appearance; the taller the building, the more graceful it becomes. The early church believed that the church could communicate the truth of the Bible in pictures and symbols to those who were illiterate, such as using the picture in the stained glass to tell stories, as well as the steeple, which helped by pointing upwards devotedly to Heaven. Therefore, the steeple has a dual role in that it helps the congregant in his or her spiritual mindset, and the steeple also helps the architect with a design feature that enhances the overall harmony of the architecture. Some steeples were used to house the bronze or steel church bell, & that section of the steeple is called the belfry. This area of the steeple would have louvers to emit the sound of the bell on all sides of the steeple, with louver blades tilted downward to help keep out rain. Bells were located in steeples, as this was the highest place on the church; this height helped the sound to travel a farther distance, floating out over the community. The bells were used as a call to worship, to ring the time of day in the community, a wedding peal, & a solemn funeral toll to mark the passing of a cherished member. This is why you still see louvers in the midsection of modern steeples even though they may not have a tradition bronze bell. Steeples traditionally were topped with a cross, a weathervane, or a decorative finial. This usually served the aesthetic aspect, the spiritual aspect, and as a weather directional. But from a functional aspect, these also served as lightning terminals attached to lightning cables to properly direct a lightning strike safely to the ground below. These were usually painted black or white or given a gold leaf finish. This steeple on First Baptist Church in Cookeville, TN has all the traditional features of those from the past but does not contain a bell as it may appear. While it is an important architectural design feature for the church building proper, it is also a visual testimony to all those within its shadow. The next time you pass a church steeple, think about the history & the meaning of the steeple. This photo was taken in 2013 during my previous Project 365…please visit my album for this “REMASTERED” Project 365 as I revisit each day of 2013 for additional photos to share!! Three bracketed photos were taken with a handheld Nikon D7200 and combined with Photomatix Pro to create this HDR image. Additional adjustments were made in Photoshop CS6. "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11 The best way to view my photostream is through Flickriver with the following link: www.flickriver.com/photos/photojourney57/



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  • Published 08.11.22
  • Resolution 950x1024
  • Image type jpg
  • File Size 127485 byte.

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