A couple of weeks ago, I was in Charleston, South Carolina, to attend the annual meeting of the Southern Society of Architectural Historians (which group, as you recall, met here in Jackson in 2009). I admit I skipped out on a few of the sessions, the weather being perfect for wandering and taking pictures. I have a bad habit of doing almost no research before my trips, so it was only this week as I was labeling my photos–using the very helpful Buildings of Charleston: A Guide to the City’s Architecture by Jonathan H. Poston–that I realized I had taken photos of three churches designed by Charleston architect Edward C. Jones.
Talk about an architect who can pull off vastly different styles! Pure Greek Revival on top, I don’t know what–Egyptianish?–in the middle, and Romanesque Revival (often called “Norman” at the time) on the bottom. And all of those were built within a decade of each other.
Other than the fact that he was clearly a talented architect, why should I care much about Mr. Jones? Well, after the Civil War, in which Charleston took a beating for its role in starting the whole thing, Edward C. Jones lit out for the New South town of Memphis, TN, where he is now remembered as one of the city’s “most significant Victorian-era architects.” In 1870, he took on a commission down the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, designing a church that I know you all have noticed if you’ve been anywhere downtown, Church of the Holy Trinity. According to its entry in the new handy MDAH database,”
When it was completed in 1894, Holy Trinity was considered the finest ecclesiastical building in Mississippi, and it is significant today as the most outstanding example of the Romanesque Revival style in the state.
No ifs, ands or buts in that statement! Here’s why:
Comparing this church with the three churches above, I’m struck by the similarities with the Citadel Square Baptist Church, which interestingly enough is hedged in Poston’s book as “apparently” of Jones design.
I guess we can thank the Civil War for bringing Edward Jones into our neck of the woods and for giving us this beautiful church.