2555 Euclid Heights Boulevard (1979, 1993)


St. Alban's Episcopal Church


Rising on the site of the oldest church in Cleveland Heights is a cedar shingled, many gabled church/temple whose facilities are shared by two congregations of different faiths but similar goals. The first St. Alban Episcopal Church, called St. Andrew's-of-the-East until 1901, was built in 1892 in Little Italy and moved up the hill five years later to the triangular lot at the intersection of Euclid Heights Boulevard and Edgehill. Here it remained until a tragic fire destroyed the Cleveland Heights landmark on the night of June 1, 1989. Two years later ground was broken for a new St. Alban on the historic site.


Because there was no Jewish Reform Temple in Cleveland Heights, about sixty families banded together to form a Heights branch of Temple Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) in Euclid. In an unusual arrangement, St. Alban and Ner Tamid worked out a long-term agreement to share the facilities and expenses of the building then under construction. Only two other places in the country are known to have a similar arrangement.


The building is oriented east, with the altar at the apex of the triangular lot, and two wings extending back at an approximately 55-degree angle. Clear windows - and many of them - provide an interesting contrast to the soft, warm texture of the cedar-shingled exterior. The original St. Alban was a shingle style mission church; the shingles were not stuccoed over until the 1920s. The bell that hangs in the square bell tower above the main entrance on Euclid Heights Boulevard was cast in Holland around the turn of the century.


On entering St. Alban/Temple Ner Tamid one is struck by a feeling of airiness and pure light created by the many windows and the open beam construction. The sanctuary is designed to be used by both religions. Behind the altar are an ark and a triptych; the tree of life that is visible when the doors are closed is a symbol common to both religions. The present temporary altar will be replaced by one of cherry and will include sections of the Botticino marble altar from the chapel of the burned church.


The pews, solid chestnut with ends of oak, were a gift from a Roman Catholic congregation, but were originally installed in a Baptist church around the turn of the century. Their simple, craftsman-like design blends well with the clean lines of the nave.


The new tracker organ, by Gabriel Kney, represents a heavy investment for a small parish, but its use will not be confined to the parish. It will be available to professional musicians and music students for both study and public concerts.


The north wing contains classrooms and a chapel. In the "undercroft" or basement there is a social room and well equipped kitchen. Seven furnaces heat five separate zones.


In planning the new building, emphasis was placed upon three things, all successfully achieved: barrier-free accessibility, good acoustics, and lots of light. In this building, the two congregations demonstrate a real commitment to the Heights community.


[1] St. Alban's was on the Tour in 1979. Here are the notes from that year's booklet. Designed in 1892 by John Dolman and built at Murray Hill and Fairview, St. Alban's parish (then known as St. Andrews-in-the-East) was originally organized by Emmanuel Episcopal Church as a mission church to serve the English railroad workers who lived in what is now Little Italy. The Landmark building was moved to its present site in 1897 at the urging of Patrick Calhoun (the developer of the area known as Euclid Heights and grandson of South Carolina's John C. Calhoun) where, in 1902, the parish was reorganized as St. Alban's.

In 1926 the roofline of the building above the vestibule was raised, two additional posterior wall dormers were added, and stucco was applied to the original clapboard. The education wing, designed by Walther Wefel, was added in 1963 and emphasizes the "village gothic" character of the 1926 additions.