United Presbyterian Church Dedicated in 1871; Destroyed by Fire in 1951

In February 1869, the United and Reformed Presbyterian congregations of Bloomington formed a union under the name of the United Presbyterian Church and at once resolved to erect a building.  They selected for their site the lot at the northeast corner of College Avenue and Ninth Street where the wooden frame R. P. Church stood. R. P. Daggett, an Indianapolis architect, furnished the plans for the new building.

The foundation was laid in the fall of 1869, and on November 9, 1871, members of the community witnessed the completion and dedication of the beautiful church.  The two-story, brick building was of the Norman Gothic style and measured 45 wide by 75 in length with a large and stately tower standing out in front in the center of the building.    In the tower was a large, double window with a circular top filled with the magnificent stained glass.  In the center of the circular top was a large “bull’s eye” filled with the richest colored glass and on which was engraved in a circle the letters “U. P. C., 1870.”   On each corner, running up from the ground about 64 feet high, was an octagon turret finished with a beautiful spire on the top.

From the vestibule in front one could ascend the circular stairway to the “audience room” above.  This room surpassed in beauty anything of the kind seen in its day.  It was about 43 feet wide and 68 feet long, divided into four blocks of pews with a seating capacity for about 450 to 500. The pews were arranged in concentric circles with the pulpit in the center.  A commodious “gallery” over the audience room provided additional seating for another 150 people.

This church was destroyed by fire on July 3, 1951.  The present church, shown in the picture above, located at 1701 East Second Street, was dedicated on October 12, 1952.

Sources:  Bloomington (IN) Progress, November 23, 1871, p. 1; and “United Presbyterian Church,” Monroe County, Indiana, Family Heritage, 1987, p. 22-23.

Blog written by Randi Richardson

 

 

Hitching Posts: A Matter of Controversy

The first hitching posts were placed around the courthouse square in 1826 coinciding with the opening of the county’s first courthouse.  As most people traveled either by horse or a horse-drawn vehicle until the turn of the century, the posts were a necessity and no one questioned the need for them.

About 1900, with the introduction of the automobile, thinking began to change.  IU Prof. V. F. Marsters brought the first manufactured automobile to Bloomington in 1901.  From that time forward, although horses continued to be the primary means of transportation for quite some time, automobiles began to gain in popularity.

With the completion of the new courthouse in 1907, most of the people living in Bloomington wanted to banish the hitching rack forever.  They believed it was unsanitary, unsightly and did nothing to promote the beauty or progressiveness of the county.

Continue reading Hitching Posts: A Matter of Controversy