Epworth United Methodist Church

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NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


A richly architectural church in a city renowned for its fine collection of downtown churches, Epworth United Methodist Church is the work of two Norfolk architects: John Edwin Ruthven Carpenter and John Kevan Peebles. The congregation began in 1850; the present church was completed in 1896 on what was then the fashionable West Freemason Street in downtown Norfolk. The rugged but colorful Romanesque style employed here shows the influence of Henry Hobson Richardson’s famous Trinity Church in Boston, a work that popularized the Romanesque Revival nationwide. The gray granite of the rough-faced random ashlar is set off by yellow sandstone trim. A fine collection of original stained glass enlivens the domed interior. The sanctuary’s remarkable original painted decorations, which made the space one of Virginia’s supreme examples of Victorian décor, have since been covered over.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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