This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Past Churches--Independence Church

The counties oldest "past church" is the Independence Methodist Church, which is in Gillam Township on CR 375 N and CR 500E. A publication from the Historic Preservation Association of Jasper County describes it this way:
[It] is a fine example of the quickly disappearing rural churches. This gable front structure with a center steeple was built in 1873 and remains largely unaltered today. The church which is unused today is surrounded by a cemetery (c. 1844). It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is classified as outstanding by the Inventory. In the absence of a congregation, the building has been maintained by several friends but this historic rural structur4e remains in danger and is listed ont he 2007 Ten Most Endangered List.
Some pictures from a few years ago can be found here. Notice that the windows have been partially restored.
The Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana had his press release at the end of July about the building:
At one time, rural churches dotted Indiana’s landscape—multi-purpose venues for agricultural communities who gathered for worship, meetings, events, and entertainment. Today, a diminishing number of these picturesque reminders of the state’s rural heritage survive.

Jasper County’s Independence Methodist Church in Gillam Township represents the disappearing breed and the jeopardy such structures face. The 1873 National Register-listed landmark is the oldest church building in Jasper County. Though the surrounding cemetery remains in use, the church was vacated years ago. With no organization responsible for its care, the building is threatened by a leaking roof and escalating deterioration. The situation the earned the church a spot on the Jasper County Historic Preservation Association’s list of the county’s 10 Most Endangered historic structures.

The Rensselaer Republican reported on Nov 2, 2009 that Jasper County Historical Preservation Association had received a grant to replace the roof on the building.

(pictures provided and used with permission)

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