Open House Tour Day – with talks by Wes Haynes

First Presbyterian Church Of Stamford

October 12, 2019 | 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

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Architect Wallace K. Harrison asked, “Have you ever thought what it would be like to live inside a giant sapphire?” With more than 20,000 pieces of dalle de verre glass in 86 hues, the First Presbyterian Church in Stamford achieves his goal of creating a building with “soaring space and jeweled light”.

The First Presbyterian Church of Stamford will be participating in Docomomo US tour day on October 12, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. With more than 20+ tours, Tour Day continues to one of be the nation’s largest events promoting architecture, design and our mid-20th century modernist heritage. To learn more about DoCoMoMo at Fish Church, check the website below.

First Presbyterian Church of Stamford is fondly known as “The Fish Church” because of its unique shape reminding people of a fish or whale. Docent-led tours will introduce the visitors to the unique sanctuary, the magnificent Visser Rowland 4,000 plus pipe organ and the 56 bell carillon. The superior acoustics will be demonstrated during the tour by the church’s Minister of Music.

1:00 am -4:00 pm.
On-demand tours of the sanctuary, the magnificent Visser Rowland organ and the 56 Bell carillon. The acoustics will be demonstrated by Kevin Bailey, Minister of Music.  The carillon will be played throughout the day.

Talks by Wes Haynes, a local architectural historian and member of the Highland Green board of directors, based on research conducted in preparing the nomination of First Presbyterian Church for recognition as a National Historic Landmark. Each talk is approximately 30 mins, followed by fifteen minutes of audience discussion, questions and answers.

11:00 a.m.
A Fish Out of Water:  Wallace K. Harrison and First Presbyterian Church. Wallace K. Harrison (1890-198x), an architect fascinated with new building technologies, was at the peak of a distinguished career when he was selected to design the new church in Stamford. This talk places the church within his body of work and assesses its impact on American design.

12:30 p.m.
Mid-Century Modern Gothic:  Atelier Loire and First Presbyterian’s Art Glass. One of First Presbyterian’s boldest strokes is its use of dalle de verre—wall panels constructed of richly colored chunks of faceted glass set in cement panels. The church introduced dalle de verre to North America, setting in motion its widespread use in religious and public buildings through the 1970s. This talk reviews the European origin and development of dalle de verre through the work of Gabriel Loire ( dates), a pioneer of the material and creator of the church’s glass.

2:15 p.m.
Re-Imagined Symbols of Faith and Community: A Virtual Tour of Mid-20th Century Religious Buildings Around Stamford. Urban renewal, the construction of I-95 and the need to house returning GI’s were factors triggering a post-World War II building boom in new houses of worship in the greater Stamford area for a quarter century. The boom provided opportunities for congregations to change the ways the places where they worshipped looked, functioned and were built. This talk takes the audience on a breezy virtual tour to “visit” a diverse selection of 14 architectural expressions from Greenwich to Westport built between 1953 and 1973.

Pets are people too. Well, not exactly but they are beloved members of our family. Many religions and faith communities bless their pets regularly. At 2:30 p.m., FPC will be hosting their first Interfaith Blessing of the Pets out on the front lawn. You are invited to bring your beloved furry or scaly friend to come receive a blessing!

Afterwards, there will be pet-loving volunteers available to sit with your pets in the shade with some homemade treats and water while you take a tour of the building and get refreshments. All animals must be restrained either with a leash or in a carrier.

Jefe's Food Truck will be on hand. Check them out at

This tour day is sponsored by Highland Green Foundation; the interfaith pet blessing is sponsored by First Presbyterian Church of Stamford. Both events are free of charge.

First Presbyterian Church of Stamford is located at 1101 Bedford Street, 1.3 miles north of the Stamford Metro-North station and I-95.

NOTE: We do our best to ensure all information is accurate, however it's a good idea to visit the website or call the venue to verify the information.


Ticket Information

This event is free of charge.


First Presbyterian Church Of Stamford
1101 Bedford Street
Stamford, CT 06905

Map and directions

Parking Info

Church has it's own parking lot on site.

Accessibility Info

  • Wheelchair Access Wheelchair Access

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