Overall, West and South Elevations, 701 North Pennsylvania Avenue

Finial. Standing on top of the apex of a roof or spire is the piece of architectural ornament known as a finial. As a reminder, a spire is a tall, pyramidal structure that rises above the roofline of a structure. Spires are commonly found on churches or other public buildings. The finial is a decorated ornamental feature, whether it is foliated, a cross, or other ornament. Finials feature prominently on churches, although you might see them on public buildings or even private homes. Finials can be made of a variety of materials, including stone, terracotta, or metals.

Today, we’ll look at two examples of finials found on Indianapolis churches. The first, at 701 North Pennsylvania, is a cross finial that stands atop the apex of this 1875 church. Located in the St. Joseph’s Historic District, the structure features Gothic Revival elements, such as a rose window. This finial stands quite prominently on the primary façade of the church and strongly identifies its religious heritage.

Finial on 701 North Pennsylvania Avenue

The second example is found on the Redeemer Presbyterian Church at 1505 North Delaware Street. Dating from 1903, this limestone structure was constructed as the First Presbyterian Church and features several finials along its main façade on North Delaware Street. The stone finials either feature on top of the simple buttresses or the small gabled ends. Unlike the first example, these finials feature various designs of foliage.

Primary Facade, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 1505 North Delaware Street

Add it to your vocabulary – how might one use today’s Building Language term in their everyday life?

During the roof replacement, they replaced, in-kind, the original metal finial with a new, copper version.

Details on Finials, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 1505 North Delaware Street

2 responses to “Building Language: Finial”

  1. Chuck Schafer says:

    I understood that Gothic Revival featured pointed arches and that Romanesque had rounded arches.

  2. Raina Regan says:

    This church on Pennsylvania features elements of both styles as it was built in two parts – 1875 and 1886.

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