“This is a unique edifice,” Galleher said. “You don’t find these around much anymore and even though we’ve been using it since ’61, people come in and say ‘wow, this is really contemporary.’”
Unlike the detailed, realistic images on the stained glass windows of classical churches, the windows at First United Methodist Church look like collages of squares that vary slightly in hue. Deep blue and purple squares cast a dark light over the back of the church, but the windows get progressively brighter in color from back to front so the pulpit is showered with a golden hue at mid-day.
Its prominent, raised lectern — elevated so people in the back row of the flat sanctuary hall can see — is typical of mid-century churches, Galleher said. More contemporary churches tend to incorporate slanted floors like an amphitheater, he said.
The church is one of many examples of modern architecture in the city and Jay Platt, the city’s Historic Preservation Planner, plans to give a slide presentation documenting other structures, historical society president Arlene Vidor said.
“He’s an expert on modernism and he’s very impressed with Glendale,” Vidor said. “I know that he’s done quite a bit of windshield surveying of Glendale and has a very impressive collection of slides of some of our great modernist buildings.”
Mid-20th Century modernism, considered by many architectural experts as a period of innovation that was prompted at least in part by advanced engineering technologies, is often under-appreciated by older generations, Vidor said.