St. Mary’s, Paragould, Arkansas

DATE - 1935

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Paragould, Arkansas is one of two churches Charles Eames built early in his career. This structure is a modern reinterpretation of Romanesque Revival architecture, a stylistic decision Charles made since it allowed him to fulfill the congregation’s desire for a traditional church within a modest budget.

Additional Information

Charles spoke of this 1935 architectural project in his oral history interview with Virginia Stith of the St. Louis Parks and Recreation Department:

“We did a lot of some churches in the South—one in Paragould, Arkansas and one in Helena, Arkansas. . . . They’re still in existence. That was a wild experience, doing these things. We would do the sculpture, the painting, the murals and all the glass. We did all the vestments—we’d get fabrics up in St. Louis, taken them down and make designs for the vestments. These were Italian Catholics in redneck Ku Klux Klan country, so you can imagine the sort of situation. I would supervise the women of the community, and they did marvelous things. I was a nut on the revival. While I had never been raised in the Catholic church, my mother’s family had been Catholic; and in the South there we did what later became very modern changes within the rubrics and ritual of the Church. Old Emil Frei was interested in that, and Emil got to be sort part of the scene.” The complete interview between Charles Eames and Virginia Stith can be found in An Eames Anthology.

St. Mary’s church made the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. In a 2015 newspaper interview, one congregant said, “When you walk in our church, to me, it feels like it opens its arms and welcomes you in. I’ve had people from other parishes tell me it just looks peaceful. Even when we lived away from here, when I walked into this church, I felt like I was coming home.”

Explore Similar Works

Related Products

Browse a curated selection of Eames Office products we think you’ll love