DAVENPORT, Iowa – It is a fine day in spring when travelers have an opportunity to explore architecture, see inside churches, and learn about religious history.
The Hilltop Altar Crawl Tour of Historic Churches will be in full swing from 1 to 5 p.m. May 19.
This is the first time for the crawl, which consists of stops at six churches. No need to check the pocketbook before attending; the visits are free. To make touring easy, brochures can be found at all locations, as well as at the Hilltop Campus Village website.
The stars of the crawl are:
n Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 323 W. 11th St.: This church was founded in 1866. It is a craftsman-style, half-timbered and stucco building that has been in use since 1908. In the congregation's early days, circuit riders were the ministers. There will be a bake sale to raise money for youth projects; the entire church will be open.
n First Baptist Church, 1401 Perry St.: This building was dedicated in 1890. The Baptists, however, had their first service in 1839. The sanctuary will be open, and an historical display and refreshments will be in the fellowship hall. Note the stained glass windows and the Romanesque revival style.
n First Christian Church, 510 E. 15th St.: First Christian's sanctuary came on the scene in 1966, making it the baby of the tour. Music will be part of the tour here. The sanctuary, prayer chapel, fellowship hall, and gymnasium will be open. An historical display and refreshments are included. The congregation will celebrate 175 years in 2014.
n First Presbyterian Church, 1702 Iowa St.: The sanctuary was built in 1897-98. Its style is Richardsonian Romanesque, known for steep roofs and block-like style. The sanctuary, balcony, chapel, and pastor's study will be shown. An organ demonstration and refreshments complete the tour in the fellowship hall.
n St. John United Methodist Church, 109 E. 14th St.: This Gothic revival church's cornerstone was laid in 1902. Guests will tour the sanctuary, conference-history room, and the former parsonage. Refreshments will be served in The Center across the street, which is where "Skate Church" is.
n Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 121 W. 12th St.: The oldest church on the tour is a Gothic revival cathedral. Its cornerstone was laid in 1867. It's made of native rock-faced random limestone. It may have taken a while, but the church's hope for a bell tower and steeple finally were realized 1998.
Parking lots are available near all the churches.
If you go
What: Hilltop Altar Crawl
Where: Davenport, Iowa
Participating churches: Bethel A.M.E., 323 W. 11th St.; First Baptist, 1401 Perry St.; First Christian, 510 E. 15th St.; First Presbyterian, 1702 Iowa St.; St. John United Methodist, 109 E. 14th St.; and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 121 W. 12th St.
When: 1 to 5 p.m. May 19
Information: Visit www.hilltopcampusvillage.org, email Marion Meginnis at email@example.com or call 563-326-3290.