Church of the Atonement - 100 Years Young
By: Reta Kikutani
The Church of the Atonement, on the corner of Kenmore and Ardmore, has been an important part of the Edgewater community since 1888, when the parish was formed. The first services were held in the Guild Hall, then on the south-west corner of Bryn Mawr and Winthrop.
In 1889, the original church was built in the Norman-Gothic style on land donated by J.L. Cochran, the developer of Edgewater. The architects were William Prettyman and Henry Ives Cobb. Mr. Prettyman designed and executed the murals in the chancel and side walls of the church.
The church continued to grow, not only in the size of the congregation, but also structurally. J.E.O. Pridmore was the architect for the enlargement in 1910 and the redesign in 1919. In 1923, he also designed the Parish hall to the south of the church. In 1912, the Chapel, made of English cathedral oak, was designed by Wake and Dean of London. The altar is of Italian marble with mosaics by Simpson & Sons of London.
In 1970, we received an Elizabethan room from the Spencer family of Sharon, Connecticut. The room was originally in the Cumberland house in England and was shipped to the Weatherstone house in Sharon in the 1690s. When Weatherstone was remodeled, this room was removed and sent to the church. The estate in Sharon was once the home of Cotton Mather Smith. This historical room provides a beautiful setting for small receptions and meetings.
Through the years the church has maintained its presence in Edgewater by becoming invaluable to the neighborhood. We began a Spanish congregation in 1975 and hosted the Coptic Church. We supported St. Augustine’s Indian Center and St. Augustine’s Bilingual College. The facilities have been made available to TAHBS, AA, Alateen, Scouts, youth groups and a rock band. The church has gone through many changes and is pleased to be supported by a multi-racial, multi-ethnic congregation from over 30 countries.