Our building and its history

St. Andrew’s, located on the corner of 26th Street and Parker, is a symbol of the great concept of pioneer bishops, ministers, and their devoted followers who came to Texas more than 170 years ago and envisioned the buildings that would stand as testimony to their faith and service.

About our campus: Currently, the administration area includes the offices of the rector, administrative assistant and bookkeeper, workroom, library and nursery.

The worship area includes the parish hall, parlor, vest­ing room, sacristy, nave, chancel, altar, and narthex. In the nave there are 26 pews and four smaller side pews which seats approximately 200 parishioners. The parlor, which has audio piped into it, can seat 35 to 40. The parish hall can seat up to 120. There is a sound system in the parish hall as well.  The basement was recently renovoated and now includes much needed meeting room for Sunday ministries and access to community gath­erings, and it has its own kitchen and restroom facilities.

St. Andrew’s has become the showcase church of downtown Bryan as well as an integral part of the cultural and civic life of the city as we strive to lift up the life and ministry of Christ.

 

History of our Parish

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church was organized as a mission of the diocese of Texas in Millican in 1864.  When the extension of the railroad from Houston to Bryan and a yellow fever epidemic depleted the population of Millican the remaining church members moved on to Bryan, where St. Andrew’s parish was organized on December 10, 1867.  The first church building was located at the corner of 25th Street and Parker (then called Red Top), and services there began in 1868.

Plans for the present building at the corner of 26th and Parker were underway by the year 1907.  The cornerstone was laid on May 30, 1912, and the congregation moved in and held the first service in the new building on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1914.  The building was dedicated, with Bishop George Kinsolving officiating, on May 3, 1914.

The church cost $18,000 and is built on the highest point in downtown Bryan.  St. Andrew’s is the oldest church building in Bryan to be in continuous use.  The building is constructed of brick and stone in the Neo-Gothic style.  The most distinctive features are its memorial stained glass windows and its interior woodwork.

When the building was dedicated in 1914, a reporter for the Bryan Eagle called the interior a “jewel box,” and this nickname has stuck for nearly a century.  The beautiful windows are certainly the crown jewels in that jewel box.  The rumor persisted for years that the St. Andrew’s windows had been created by craftsmen at Tiffany’s, but recent research has revealed that they were produced by the artisans of Jacoby Art Glass Company of St. Louis, Missouri, in the distinctive American neo-classical style, distinguished by realistic figures, background landscapes, and architectural details.

 

Window History

When the current St. Andrew’s church building was consecrated in 1914, a reporter for the Bryan Eagle called the interior a “jewel box” and this nickname has stuck for nearly a century.  The beautiful stained glass windows are certainly the crown jewels in that jewel box.  Installed when the building was constructed, the windows have been loved and admired by generation after generation of parishioners and visitors to the church.

The period from the turn of the century until the end of World War I was a high point in American architectural history for the construction of monumental church and civic buildings throughout the United States which, in turn, led to the founding of several major glass studios to produce the stained glass windows for these buildings.  These studios produced windows in a distinctive American style that was quite different from those windows which were produced in Europe, primarily in France and England.  The rumor persisted for years that the St. Andrew’s windows had been created by the craftsmen at Tiffany’s, perhaps the most well-known of these studios.  Recent research, however, has revealed that the original St. Andrew’s windows were produced by the artisans of Jacoby Art Glass Company of St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Andrew’s has a total of twenty-four stained glass windows. There are six large  pictorial windows in the nave, and three above and behind the altar.  The large central window above the altar depicts the Last Supper, flanked on the left by a window of St. Andrew, the patron saint of the parish, and on the right by Jesus rescuing Peter from the stormy Sea of Galilee.  The six pictorial windows which surround the nave chronologically depict the life of Christ: the Nativity, Jesus with the little children, the Transfiguration, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension.  The Transfiguration window, which is distinctly different in style from the other windows, is a 1938 replacement made by the J. Wippell & Co. of Exeter, England for the original Jacoby window which was blown out by lightning.  All of the pictorial windows, except the Transfiguration window, are in the distinctive neo-classical American style, distinguished by realistic figures, background landscapes and architectural details.  All of these windows are composed of custom-rolled colored glass with hand-painted details, such as the faces of all the figures.  The other fifteen windows are opalescent glass with a central motif of either a cross or stylized lily blossom.  They are distributed throughout the building: eight around the nave, chancel and transept; two in the narthex (or vestibule); and five small windows in the bell tower, which lack the central cross or lily motif.