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About the Curate

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A few words about the curator of this blog would seem to be in order.

Cantankerous, curmudgeonly, I’m a professor of architecture in the sense that I profess, and have been doing that for forty-nine years at a place where the folks have been more congenial than the institution — but things change. Capricorn, agnostic (gnostic wannabe), with Marxist inclinations, there are a great number of reasons to dislike me; pick a good one.

I am archipelagic, not continental.

The conventional wisdom on good writing? Choose strong verbs. Avoid adverbs; limit adjectives. Yet the latter have been on my mind lately, so I got out the OED to explore a few that apply here: feckless, for example, and wistful.

At my birth, feck may have been in short supply, or I was standing behind the door, for I claim to be among the most feckless of folks in these parts or any other times. On the other hand, I am awash in a tsunami of wist. Some days — today being one of them — I might claim a corner on the market. You need wist? Come talk to me; I’ve got more than I can handle. Looking back at some of the pieces I’ve written, at the designs I’ve crafted, time and distance show me their elevated levels of wistfulness — and total absence of feck. This truth isn’t offered as apology, however; simply a warning if you’re running low on antacid.

Oh, and is it even worth mentioning that original material contained herein, both written and drawn, is copyright by its author.

*These three images are the artistic output in watercolor, colored pencil and gouache of our talented friend Mr Jonathan Taylor Rutter — who declines to sign his work. What will future art historians make of this? By the way, if you’d like to see these three images and six others, come on over and we’ll sit on the porch and break out the bourbon.

Incidentally, should you wish to contact the curator directly, I can be found most days at: plains.architecture@gmail.com


2 Comments

  1. Bonnie Fetzek says:

    Im in eau claire, wi just researching this lovely little chapel connected with/started by cooley in the 1880’s. So why did he only last less then a year here and get chased out of other locales? I’m curious . His chapel is now a montessori school here–st, edwards, and the architecture is just lovely in a lower income part of town . Thanks for your answer. Enjoyed reading your blog and cooley’s history and trying to put two and two together. Thinking that at the time he was here the working class population which he was trying to serve was predominately scandinavian (lutheran) with some german and french (catholic) the two majority religious groups here today, and thus not much interest in episcopalion or christ church. Bonnie fetzek

    • Hi, Bonnie (if I may): Fr Cooley seemed to have difficulty staying in a post for long periods. I have my suspicions but it also appears to have involved his degree of High Churchmanship, which is another term for Anglo-Catholicism. In other words, he was deeply involved in ritual practice in the tradition of Rome, seeing the Episcopal church as “another” branch of Catholicism. In the case of Eau Claire, I think you’ve also got a finger on the difficulties of immigrant populations bringing in their own traditions. That was tried here in ND bu offering services in Norwegian and Swedish. If you’d like to talk more about Cooley, write me at plains.architecture@gmai.com. Thanks for your comment and observations.

      Oh, and P.S.: How did you happen to stumble upon our rather curious website? If you’re looked around, you’ll learn that Agincourt, Iowa is not a real place. It is entirely fictional, but tries to be as “real” as possible. It’s an academic exercise for students of architecture to explore the relationship between story-telling and place-making. In this case, I borrowed Fr Cooley to help tell the story of the Episcopal church in Agincourt’s history. I hope he doesn’t mind.

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