15 March 2004

A powerhouse of a church

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004

Few congregations have been as influential on the course of architecture as was the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley in the late 19th century. Its members included Bernard Maybeck, Charles Keeler, Allen G. Freeman, and Edmund S. Gray, son-in-law of Volney D. Moody.

It was Gray who commissioned A.C. Schweinfurth to design Moody’s showcase residence Weltevreden (1896), and he turned to the architect again for the design of the First Unitarian Church’s original home on the corner of Bancroft Way and Dana St. (1898). The two buildings, both landmarks, are Schweinfurth’s only legacy in Berkeley.

Read an illustrated article on the remarkable church building, which has been compared to a powerhouse in more ways than one.


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