Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tin Tabernacles

Recently I was reading a couple of articles on corrugated galvanised iron churches. Altho the articles were aimed at churches in Britain, the United States has it's share of tin churches. I can't think of any in Delmar. There are two churches in Delmar that are located in corrugated galvanised iron buildings, (I apply the name corrugated galvanised iron to any metal siding) but those buildings didn't start life as a church, after being erected then the church moved in and I view them as storefront churches.

The corrugated iron church (that was build as a church) that comes most readly too mind is the Korean Church on Hobbs Road in Salisbury.

Corrugated iron churches have been built no doubt since corrugated iron was invented in the 1820s in Britain by Henry Robinson Palmer.

Corrugated iron manual roller

Corrugated iron provided one of the best ways of erecting temporary buildings and manufacturers were quick to identify its potential.


The churches were usually purchased as fairly inexpensive kits, able to be erected quickly, and capable of serving the needs of a small community, being available as a flat-pack boxes, ready-to-assemble kit. They were shipped all over the world. In retrospect, corrugated iron churches were the harbinger of Ikea.


These buildings were often established as mission halls or temporary shelter for new congregations. Very often, if a congregation prospered and was able to build an edifice of brick, stone, or some other material, the tin tabernacle would be destroyed, removed, or converted to some other purpose. Rusting makes the maintenance of tin tabernacles difficult, but as long as they are properly maintained they are fine.


The next step is its half-round cousin the Quonset Hut, now that is another story.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Tabernacle on Alt 13?

Howard said...

I think it started life as a car place and than coverted before it was finished to a church.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for storefront churches. No need for million dollar churches, with $150,000 sound/video systems and the "pastor" driving a Licoln Navigator.