Tuesday, May 3, 2011

American Architect and Building News through Online Books

(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)

An interesting resource I've been going through lately is the American Architect and Building News magazine. AABN was a trade magazine for architects, it featured articles about building designs and general goings-on in the industry.
The magazine ended publication in 1938 and was absorbed by the Architectural Record.

The Online Books Library through the University of Pennsylvania put together a very useful page with searchable digitized editions of the magazines from 1878 to 1922.

As I research H.M. Francis, I'm going through this resource to find news about building designs he may have submitted and were in competition with other architects. In some cases, at the Historical Society, I've found buildings he designed that were never built.
I believe I found one instance of competing designs in Vol. 37 of the magazine.
There is an entry on page viii that lists a competition for the Congregational Church design in Orange, Massachusetts.

Fig. 1: Page viii with a listing of a competitive design for the Congregational Church in Orange, MA

The listing reads, "Orange, Mass. Competitive Design for Congregational Church. A.C. Fernald, Architect, 865 (Reg.)"
865 refers to the number of the journal, and that is where we find this:

Fig. 2: Description of A.C. Fernald's design

The text reads, "Design Submitted in Competition for the Congregational Church at Orange, Mass. Mr. A.C. Fernald, Architect, Boston, Mass. Wood construction throughout; all truss-work to be of Georgia pine. Exterior shingled; granite underpinning. Interior finished in quartered oak. Sheathed dado five feet high around all rooms and corridors. Walls and ceilings plastered. Estimated cost from reliable builder complete including heating (not including pews or organ) was $16,500."

Unfortunately, there is no description of Francis's design in this volume, but I did find a color drawing of his church design.

Fig. 3: Hand-colored drawing of Francis's design for First Congregational Church in Orange, MA

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