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Roscommon Congregational Church by Alden B. Dow

Roscommon Congregational Church by Alden B. Dow

Alden B. Dow began the drawings for the Roscommon Congregational Church in February 1961.  A contract was signed with a local building contractor, Bernard Streff, on July 17, 1961, with construction to be completed within 200 calendar days for $86,500.  The final cost of the church with change orders totaled $91,138.

The 8,752 square foot two-story structure is situated on a gently sloping site that allows grade exposure on both levels.  The exterior makes extensive use of redwood siding with brick walls at the rear of the church.  The impression it makes is one of total originality – a modified A-frame for the main body with a steeple rising above it in a tall isosceles triangle at the far end.

Set off to the side of the walkway is a free-standing light and sound tower, the triangular top of which mirrors the steeple.  Drawings show it to be 25 feet tall and made of copper.  The tower no longer appears in recent photographs of the church, however.

The interior space is shaped like that of an obtuse triangle.  The rustic redwood of the exterior dominates on the interior with massive exposed beams lining the ceiling and walls.  Large windows line one side of the nave at ground level.  On the opposite side, narrow vertical windows between beams provide light along with a narrow band of clerestory windows at the top of the wall.  Slender windows positioned in the wall behind the altar shine a transparent cross into the sanctuary.

The lower level houses five classrooms, choir room, social hall, and kitchen.  The first Sunday morning service in the new church was held on February 26, 1962.  Mr. Dow received the First Honor Award from the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for his design of the Roscommon Congregational Church in 1967.

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