It is hard to believe that this icon of the twentieth-century colonial revival will be torn down before long. It sits just east of Mountain Brook Village and overlooks US-280 where tens of thousands of people drive by each day. The congregation has merged with Southminster Presbyterian in Vestavia Hills and the buyer of the building is negotiating with Mountain Brook zoning authorities over how exactly the land will be redeveloped to create multiple residences.
It is a similar story to what the nearby Birmingham Unitarian Universalist Church and Pilgrim Church UCC did with their sites when they moved in the early 2000s. While Pilgrim’s “Blue Roof Church” was ever bit as much an icon, since those were both modern A-frames, they lacked the since of permanence of this building.
It was designed by Van Keuren and Davis at the same time they were planning the Shades Valley campus for Howard College (now Samford University). So there are many parallels between this church and Samford’s Reid Chapel.
Reid Chapel was renovated five years ago, but now sees far less use than it has for most of its history. The student body has grown too large for even a reasonable fraction of it to sit in the chapel. (It was built to sit 800, but now after various changes is usually listed with a capacity of 600.)
Read this first post for more on this series on Birmingham churches and their cornerstones.
Mountain Brook Village