Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beulah United Methodist Church

Beulah United Methodist Church (formerly Beulah Evangelical Church) is the spiritual home for 600 members in the eastern Johnstown neighborhood of Hornerstown. It is also one of the grandest designed churches in the Johnstown area, distinctively located along the much-traveled Bedford Street.

Although the church was founded in 1891, construction of the current building began in 1921. Dedicated on Sunday, March 8, 1924 by Bishop J. F. Dunlap of Cleveland, the building’s construction cost $140,000. J.C. Fulton and Son of Uniontown, PA designed the structure, with construction carried out by church member and superintendent of building operations, Garfield Small. The Building Committee employed a foreman and building crew, eliminating contractor profit, saving money for the church. The church was also the first in the city to contain a fireproof location for records. On dedication Sunday, almost 4,000 people attended three services and collections amounted to over $21,000.

The building is of Greek Classical design and includes various classical elements from the large green dome, to classical gabled roofs, and four Ionic columns at the front entrance. The primary construction materials included white Kittanning brick, limestone colored art stone, 60 tons of structural steel, stained glass windows, and dark oak. The building contains amenities that were very modern at the time including a low-pressure steam heating system and plumbing that was top-notch when installed. The pipe organ was built by A.J. Schantz & Co., of Orrville, O. to the specifications furnished by Prof. Curtis Amps, who played the organ for the church.

The entrance contains two sets of double doors oriented 90 degrees from the front face of the building and positioned under the porch and facing each other. The twin entrances to the main floor auditorium are at 45 degree angles and face the center of the room under the large, interior, back-lit, stained glass dome. The interior dome is approximately 30 feet below the external dome and that space contains much of the structural steel of the building.

The auditorium additionally contains twin balconies oriented opposite each other on the sides of the room and the rear contains a wall which opens to reveal additional space and a room with a large, flat panel of stained glass overhead. Behind the balconies are large stained glass windows which light up gloriously in the sunlight thanks to the favorable location that the church was constructed upon, one of the better locations in the city for sun exposure. The stained glass windows contain four emblems with names of saints on them: St. Matthew, St. John, St. Luke, and St. Matthew.
In the basement, below the auditorium the building contains a social room with a raised platform and the rear of the basement area consists of a dining room, a kitchen, and a class room. The rear portion of the first and second floors contains the areas for administrative duties, Bible classes, and other church activities.

Name: Beulah United Methodist Church
Location: 716 Bedford Street, Johnstown, PA
Religious Affiliation: Methodist
Date of Construction: 1921
Architect: J.C. Fulton and Son (Uniontown, PA)
Building Style: Greek Classical
Plan Type: Domed central-plan
Primary Materials: white Kittanning brick, limestone color art stone, sixty tons of structural steel, stain glass windows, and dark oak
Status: Active

Domes and Spires (published by the Tribune Democrat and Johnstown Magazine, 2008)
Article from “The Evangelical Messenger” March 24, 1924
Attached floor plan from church archives
Church website

researched by Thomas Brown

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