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3 Historical Churches from the 1800s

3 Historical Churches in Moline, Illinois. Photographs by Adria Black

I’m always fascinated by old, historical buildings and the mix of architectural styles that you can find in the Quad Cities area.  So with Easter coming up, I decided to go in search of some of the historically important local churches in the city of Moline, Illinois.  These churches began in the early days of Moline’s history.  These three churches continue to operate, serving the local community, in their original locations in the downtown area.

I was immediately drawn to these three churches because of the similar brick architecture and their early impact on Moline’s religious history.  Despite the various ages of these three churches, they have a timeless feel, which I think is due to their use of brick materials.  All of these churches have a massive presence, gorgeous windows, and architectural features that make them unique.  These three churches have also become landmarks in Moline.

Moline’s Early History

The Sauk and Meskwaki Indians were the first permanent settlers in the Moline. These Sauk and Meskwaki Indians founded the village of Saukenuk in 1720.  The village of Saukenuk was along the Rock River.  A factory and industrial town started along the Illinois shore of the Mississippi River in 1843.  This town was originally called Rock Island Mills.  When the town incorporated in 1848 the name changed to Moline.

Moline’s founding fathers were primarily from New England and their efforts attracted Swedish, Belgian, and German immigrants.  Additional waves of immigrants came after World War II from France, Eastern Europe, and Mexico.  This mix of diverse, cultural heritage has created an eclectic and broad range of cultural experiences to this local community.

Since 1850, the First Lutheran Church has worshipped God in their downtown (Moline, Illinois) setting. Photograph by Adria Black
Since 1850, the First Lutheran Church has worshipped God in their downtown (Moline, Illinois) setting. Photograph by Adria Black

First Lutheran Church in Moline, Illinois

For over 165 years, the First Lutheran Church has been an important part of the Moline community.  The First Lutheran Church began as The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church.  In 1850, Swedish pastor, Lars Paul Esbjorn, organized the church.  Construction began on the church in 1851.  The church completed the building of a wooden church, measuring 24 feet by 36 feet in 1852.  The First Lutheran Church was the first Swedish Lutheran church completed west of the Appalachian Mountains.

The First Lutheran Church has a mix of styles from traditional Swedish elements and Gothic windows. Photograph by Adria Black
The First Lutheran Church has a mix of styles from traditional Swedish elements and Gothic windows.
Photograph by Adria Black

The church completed several more expansions and further construction projects to meet the demands of the community.  Finally, the Church decided to build a new brick church in 1875. This is the current building that First Lutheran Church resides in today.  Planning for the new church began a month later.  The new church had a mix of Swedish styles, Gothic style windows, and the contemporary style of American Protestant churches in the 1870s.  The traditional Swedish architectural styles added to the new church were the barrel ceiling, the semicircular shape of frescoes, the doorways, and even the hymn boards.

The original mission of the First Lutheran Church was to attract the growing population of Swedes that were moving to the Moline area and their descendants and help them in their worship of God.  Today the First Lutheran Church attracts people far more multi-cultural than its original Swedish roots.  The theme of the ministry is “Faithful, Liturgical, Beautiful: First Lutheran Church”, and the First Lutheran Church seeks to worship God, serve others, support one another, and invite all people to share in the Christian ministry.

First Lutheran Church Side View in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black.
First Lutheran Church Side View in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black.
First Lutheran Church Clock Tower in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black
First Lutheran Church Clock Tower in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black
First Lutheran Church Side Entrance in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black
First Lutheran Church Side Entrance in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black

Christ Church in Downtown Moline, Illinois

The Christ Church in Moline, Illinois is over 100 years old.  According to the history explained on the Christ Church website, this church was originally dedicated in 1895, and the congregation still worships in the original building today!  This Episcopal church was a late arrival in Moline’s early history, but the planning for this church began in the 1850’s when Moline was still a fledgling community.  The Episcopalians first worshiped together in family houses and then later in other denominations’ churches.  In an effort to build their own church, in 1868, a building committee formed and began fundraising efforts to create the Saint Paul’s Church.  Unfortunately, funding was not readily available and the building of Saint Paul’s was not completed.

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Next, the people of the Moline church met with Bishop Burgess in the Diocese of Quincy in 1891, and they organized a mission church with their first priest, Father Robert Hewitt conducting services.  Over the next four years, the congregation began fundraising efforts, eventually purchasing a lot.  The church constructed a simple frame building.  This building was 35 feet wide by 75 feet long.  The people dedicated this church as The Christ Church.  Within ten years, The Christ Church acquired a rectory, added the vestry and a parishioner donated the awesome rose window.

The side entrance at Christ Church in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black
The side entrance at Christ Church in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black

The Christ Church began extensive renovations in 1948.  During these renovations, the Church bricked the exterior frame, constructed the bell tower, and added an apse behind the original altar.  The Christ Church remains committed to staying a downtown Moline, Illinois church, fulfilling the hopes and dreams of the original congregation, and ministering to the local community through the sharing of God’s word.

Christ Church Entrance in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black
Christ Church Entrance in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black

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Another view of the Christ Church in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black
Another view of the Christ Church in Moline, Illinois. Photograph by Adria Black

St Mary’s Catholic Church in Moline, Illinois

The St. Mary’s Parish was the first Catholic parish in Moline, Illinois, as well as opening a Catholic school at the parish in 1884.  While I couldn’t find much information about the history of this Catholic Church, I did find some related information about the Catholic school from Illinois High School Glory Days.  According to Richard Soseman, Catholic worship began in Moline as early as the 1600’s due to the visit of Fr. Marquette and Joliet in the area.  The local area Catholics built the Saint Anthony parish during the 1850’s.  This parish was later replaced in 1878 with Saint Mary of the Assumption.

The St. Mary's Parish was the first Catholic parish in Moline, Illinois, as well as opening a Catholic school at the parish in 1884. Photograph by Adria Black
The St. Mary’s Parish was the first Catholic parish in Moline, Illinois, as well as opening a Catholic school at the parish in 1884. Photograph by Adria Black

The Catholics of Moline asked the Sisters of Charity to open a school for the children.  Saint Mary’s built a one room school-house in 1884.  This school quickly began to educate children in all grade levels.  The school continued operating for some time until the community built additional Catholic schools.  The Archdiocese decided to close the high school portion of St. Mary’s in 1949 when a new Catholic high school was built in Rock Island (Alleman).  The school continued for some time with educating at the grade school level, although this eventually stopped as well.

The St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moline, Illinois still operates today.  The old school is still used for various parish purposes.

The St. Mary's Parish was the first Catholic parish in Moline, Illinois, as well as opening a Catholic school at the parish in 1884. Photograph by Adria Black
The St. Mary’s Parish Side View. Photograph by Adria Black

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been to any of these churches.  Also, let me know if you have any suggestions on other historical buildings or churches that I should photograph for my Documenting the Quad Cities project.  Let me know in the comments below!  All of these prints are available on Society 6, simply click on the photo of the piece you like and it will take you directly to the shop!

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#The100DayProject – Making Mandalas

For #The100DayProject 2017, I am making mandalas. Artwork by Adria Black
Tomorrow begins the #The100DayProject by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. The 100 day project begins April 4, 2017 and continues through July 12, 2017.  This project is a great way to start working towards your goals, whether that is writing, drawing, or cooking homemade food every day.  Whatever your goal to living your life better, take the next 100 days and really focus on working towards creating something you can be proud of.  Check out the official website for the 100 Day Project for more information on this awesome project!


Making Mandalas for #The100DayProject

For my 100 day project this year, I am going to be creating mandalas in some form or another every single day for the next 100 days.  I will be posting weekly updates on Mondays so that you can check out the projects I have completed.  Plus I will let you know how I’m currently feeling about the project as the weeks progress.  You can also check it out on Instagram where I will be using the hashtag – #the100daysofadriablack


My History with #The100DayProject

I have attempted the 100 day project in the past and it was a big fail.  April is always a really busy time for me.  With the changing seasons, I also seem to get more migraines and they seem to last longer than usual.  So getting through the month of April itself can be hard for me. But I’m going to try again this year.


Last year, my project was not specific enough for me.  I wanted to fill a journal that I had made by hand. However, my inspiration quickly dried up and the project got neglected so I could focus on life instead.  This year, I am hoping with a specific project like making mandalas I will have plenty of inspiration.  I’m allowing myself the freedom to make my mandalas in whatever medium or method is easiest for the day so that I can fit it into my day.  I do not want to stress out because I have to get a full piece done!  So if I only have a few minutes to work on a mandala that is perfectly acceptable.


My first mandala for #The100DayProject colored with watercolor on Yupo paper. Artwork by Adria Black.
My first mandala for #The100DayProject colored with watercolor on Yupo paper. Artwork by Adria Black.

First Mandala

On Saturday I did a test run of my mandala project.  I created this lovely piece on Yupo paper using watercolors, pen and ink.  I sketched out the mandala first with pencil on a piece of cardstock paper.  Afterwards, I placed the translucent Yupo paper on top and painted over it, using my pencil marks as a guide. Although, Yupo paper and watercolors tend to do their own thing!  When I had painted the mandala and achieved the effects that I wanted from the Yupo paper, I proceeded to outline the whole piece with pen.


The original sketch for my first mandala. I outlined the piece with ink so that it is ready for me to add color later. Artwork by Adria Black
The original sketch for my first mandala. I outlined the piece with ink so that it is ready for me to add color later. Artwork by Adria Black

I really love how this first mandala turned out.  In addition, I also inked the original pencil sketch so it is ready for tomorrow.  I can add color or paint or whatever I feel like when that day arrives!  In order to be prepared for the next 100 days, I also got another batch prepared on the white cardstock using a compass and various round objects from the studio to create some guidelines for my mandalas.


The Next 100 Days of Making Mandalas

I’m not sure where this project will take me in the next 100 days.  But I am excited to have a specific project to work on every single day.  You can definitely expect to see some mandalas in April’s new Mixed Media Collection, coming at the end of the month.  I would love to record these new mandalas, but somehow in the process of moving the art studio and reorganizing, I have lost the power cord to the camera.  Hopefully it will turn up soon!


I also want to incorporate some of the kaleidoscope photography techniques that I have been working with in March to create a series of mandalas.  So stay tuned for those pieces as well!


Digital Versions of My Mandalas

While I was uploading my mandalas to Society 6, I decided to add a couple of color variations through editing in Photoshop.  I did two different versions of each piece for a bit of variety.
 

The original mandala sketch converted to shades of pinks. Artwork by Adria Black
The original mandala sketch converted to shades of pinks. Artwork by Adria Black

The original mandala sketch converted to teal and green. Artwork by Adria Black
The original mandala sketch converted to teal and green. Artwork by Adria Black
My first mandala for #The100DayProject converted to reds and blues. Artwork by Adria Black.
My first mandala for #The100DayProject converted to reds and blues. Artwork by Adria Black.

My first mandala for #The100DayProject converted to purples and teals. Artwork by Adria Black.
My first mandala for #The100DayProject converted to purples and teals. Artwork by Adria Black.

Have you ever tried #The100DayProject?  I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!  These pieces are available on Society 6, simply click the photo and it will take you to the purchasing options.