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Universalist Church of Our Father
Universalist Church of Our Father

Universalist Church of Our Father, interior plan
Universalist Church of Our Father, interior plan

Universalist Church of Our Father (5)

13th and L Streets, NW
Constructed in 1882, demolished in 1973

The Universalist Church of Our Father was the first church in Washington of the Universalists, an American liberal- protestant community founded in 1779. First organized in 1867,for over a decade the Washington Universalists held worship services in Lincoln Hall and the Masonic Temple, designed by Cluss, and Mezzerot Hall, owned by Cluss's brother-in-law, Edward Droop. The congregation, "embracing some of our most respected citizens", began planning their church building in 1881. It cost about 30,000 Dollars.

Like the Tabernacle Church, the Universalist Church at 13th and L Streets, NW, designed by Cluss and Schulze, was an amphitheater church. The Sunday School rooms lined one side of the sanctuary that had movable walls which could be opened for special occasions, expanding the normal seating capacity of the sanctuary. Designed in a Gothic style in brick and stone, the church included stained glass windows that a newspaper account said "made the church perfect, not too conspicuous in decoration, and yet not too plain."

After the First World War, the Universalist General Convention revived the idea of a national memorial church. As a result, the Washington congregation sold their building in 1925, and eventually moved into the new Universalist National Memorial Church on 16th Street.

The original Church of Our Father was purchased by the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, who held it for nearly 50 years. In 1973, the congregation moved to a new building on 16th and I Streets and sold the church designed by Cluss. It was demolished to make way for an office building.

Cluss's architecture influenced the nearby neighborhood. On K Street, from Thirteenth to Fifteenth streets, he designed two schools, (55) and (66), a five unit row house, (37), other single family residences, (39), (43) and (103), and one duplex (78). Within a block of K Street, he also designed a duplex on Fourteenth Street (102), and a house (80) and a hotel (18) on Fifteenth Street.




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