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Episcopal Church of the Nativity

Huntsville, Alabama
County of Madison.
212 Eustis Avenue
National Register Number: 74000420
Resource type: Building.
Property type: Religious facility. The threat level was Threatened in
Congressional District: AL-5 Certified Local Government: YES
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Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 21, 1990):
Completed in 1859, the Church of the Nativity is one of the most pristine examples of Ecclesiological Gothic architecture in the South. It is also one of the least-altered structures by the hand of Frank Wills. The English-born Wills, along with James Renwick and Richard Upjohn , led the Gothic Revival movement in American religious architecture.

After a recent study by Noblin & Associates, the bell tower has the greatest need for repairs first, followed by the roof, then removal of the wallpaper. There is significant masonry damage in the Bell Tower caused by moisture. The masonry walls have experienced significant settlement and deterioration of mortar materials due to water infiltration. The masonry walls on the steeple are in generally poor condition, with significantly more cracking of the masonry and spalling of brick faces than the main building walls. This is likely due to both the increased exposure of the tower to the elements, and greater flexural movement due to its relatively tall, slender proportions. The corners and columns between louvered openings are noticeably out of plumb in various locations. The bell tower and steeple windows and louvers are significant paths of water infiltration. The same problem although to a lesser degree exists with the Sanctuary brick because the cement mortar was used instead of lime mortar when the brick was repointed. A future complication is that the brick face was ground off to remove the cement mortar in the 1960's. An associate engineer from Noblin & Associates stated that further north, the brick face would have been on the ground. Water has been trapped in the walls because of the wallpaper and the inability for the mortar and brick to breathe properly. The addition of air conditioning in the 1960's has allowed more water to condense behind the wallpaper. The roof is not leaking; however the shingle and decking are in poor condition. The current gutter system is of little value.”

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