DATE - 1934

St. Mary’s Church, best characterized as Late Gothic Revival in style, has a simple, austere presence. Its vaulted archway leads congregants into an expansive space, primarily made of brick. The sides are flanked by tall stained-glass windows designed by St. Louis artist Emil Frei, while a colorful mural anchors the area behind the altar. Charles designed the church with Robert Walsh, with whom he had recently started an architectural firm—in the middle of the depression, no less. Eames and Walsh also built St. Mary’s Church in Paragould, Arkansas.

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In addition to creating an intricate brass lighting fixture and the cabinetwork for the church, An Eames Primer explains that the pews “may have been Charles’s first experience with producing furniture in volume.” The oak pews were designed in the arts and crafts style, with one unique “Eames” flourish. There’s an extra wood layer on the back of the pews, which provides gentle lumbar support.

At the edge of each row of pews is a cutout cross, which echoes the shape of the church’s original “Stations of the Cross,” which Charles also designed. There are also several solid oak stools in the arts and crafts style, with cutouts in the shape of a cross or a fish.

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