featured image of St. Luke's Church phase 1

St. Luke’s Church Phase 1

  • Overview


    Old Cahawba, AL
    2nd Year Project

  • Project Team

    Fall 2006
    April Brown, Amy Cook, Nicole Dennis, Lea Henley, Joe Kochak, Courtney Mathias, Katie Owens, Casey Patterson, Michael Shows, Scott Smith, Daniel Stewart, John Thompson, Brittany Winslett, Amanda Petersson, Amy Songer, Jessica Moeller, Cassandra Kellogg

    Spring 2007
    Cameron Acheson, Candace Rimes, Christine Dingivan, Erin Graves, Frances Leong, Fuller Sherrod, Sarah Hollerman, Adam Leonard, Chris Currie, Eric Hutchinson, John Mansour, Nick Bishop, Walker Stone, William Batey, Golpar Garmestani, Nick Wickersham, Jamie Sartory

Beginning in 2007, Rural Studio was asked by the Cahawba Advisory Committee and the Alabama Historical Commission to deconstruct and relocate St. Luke’s Church. The over 150-year-old building was constructed in Old Cahawba, the first capital of Alabama, in 1854. Cahawba was a prosperous town in the state for a number of years, even after it was no longer the capital. After the Civil war, the town was subsequently abandoned and its desertion encouraged locals to relocate the church to Martin Station, 17 miles away.

Phase one of the project involved documentation and deconstruction of the church.

The design of the church has been traced to Richard Upjohn’s “Rural Architecture,” which the unknown original builder is thought to have followed meticulously. The Rural Studio group of 2nd-year students began their intervention by documenting and disassembling the structure still in Martin Station. Originally, the church also included a square bell tower but it was not relocated in that initial transport. While some of the authentic timber had rotted, much of it was salvageable and used again in the reassembly. This included the heavy timber arches and an abundance of the vertical board and batten sheathing. The stately Gothic Revival church and its iconic lancet windows are now an integral attraction for the Old Cahawba Archaeological park. Phase one of the project involved documentation and deconstruction of the church.

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