Upjohn’s Rural Architecture and Carpenter Gothic

During the nineteenth century, new churches sprang up following settlement and population growth. These included Episcopal congregations, which frequently preferred the Gothic or “pointed” style of which Richard Upjohn was the best-known exponent thanks to his Trinity Church in New York.

Whereas Upjohn’s more substantial buildings in stone were built in larger Northeastern cities, the smaller towns closer to the frontier of settlement used cheaper wood construction in the style known as Carpenter Gothic. While Upjohn began by providing low-cost plans to small parishes directly on request for reduced or no fee, in 1852 he published Upjohn’s Rural Architecture, which inspired countless local architects to use or modify his plans, or make their own in a similar style.

These are only a few samples of the rural churches designed or inspired by Upjohn; no complete inventory exists.


  1. Upjohn’s Rural Architecture: Designs, working drawings, and specifications for a wooden church, and other rural structures (Da Capo, 1975 [1852]). Review Landau

Read More »