2200 Overlook (1989)


First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cleveland


The building group of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cleveland consists of an octagonal, domed structure housing an auditorium and Sunday School, with an adjacent bell tower. The tower, built around a 150-foot smoke stack designed to service the church's original coal furnaces, stands as an area landmark that can be seen for miles. A last minute design change led to the installation of nonfunctioning cast aluminum bells.


Built in 1929 by architects Walker and Weeks, the church sits on a bluff overlooking University Circle. It was originally planned for the site now occupied by Severance Hall (also constructed by Walker and Weeks).


Architecturally, the structure can be described as classical revival with an English Renaissance interpretation. Its auditorium is circular with an open Ionic colonnade at the balcony level. The columns are actually concrete encased steel beams covered with fabric that is painted to give the appearance of marble. They support a domed ceiling ornamented in plaster relief and color in the Napoleonic beaux-arts style. A secondary dome provides indirect lighting to augment twelve chandeliers. The raised platform where services are conducted is backed by hand carved mahogany and several banks of organ pipes.


The church's organ, one of the last instruments of its size built by Hook and Hastings of Boston, has nearly 5000 pipes, comprising 70 ranks set in five divisions. Its console consists of five corresponding keyboards, four of which are manuals and the fifth a pedalboard. The church's organist, Mr. Gerald Wise, will be playing short recitals on the hour during the tour.