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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Once a church--Barkley Methodist

At one time there were many small rural churches in Jasper County, and a few remain. One that closed about 25 years ago was the Barkley Methodist Church on Moody Road. Today it is being used as a residence.
I think my first encounter with this building was in1990 when I was working the census. I recall finding people living in a building that had been a church and I think it was on Moody Road. The census enumerators were given maps of residences that had been prepared by local officials, but sometimes they missed houses, and they did in this case.

The main building was built in 1885 and it was still being used as a church in 1985, because it was mentioned as still in operation in History of Jasper County, Indiana (1985). The records of the church are in an archive, and the archive has records from 1949 until 1985, so it may have closed in 1985.

Behind the former church is the Barkley Cemetery, which is still being used because it has very recent graves. It is reached by a narrow drive next to the church.
Like many small, old cemeteries, some of the tombstones are broken or knocked over.
Someone was still tending this grave of a girl who died over 70 years ago.
Immediately to the east of the old Barkley Methodist Church is the site of the Barkley Township school, which was built in 1922 and abandoned in the spring of 1964. It looked like a twin of the Hanging Grove Township school, though I am told that the decorative work that is done in ceramic tile on the Hanging Grove school was done in concrete on this school and also and another identical school near Newland. After it was closed, it was purchased by the Barkley Methodist Church and demolished. (The old Newland school is also gone, I believe.)


GreyFriar 1968 said...

The old Newland School (officially North Barkley Elementary School) was closed in May 1961 when the last group of 10 Eighth graders graduated. 2 or 3 years later a tornado took down the chimney and took off the roof over the two west side school rooms. It was abandoned in this condition for another half dozen years or so until it was sold. There is a private residence on the site. The house is built on the "big kids" or 5-8 graders play ground which included a baseball diamond and basketball court. I was in that last 8th grade graduating class. said...

And I remember attending, with my parents, the annual fall barbeque chicken dinners the Methodist Church held as its main fundraiser. There was always a big crowd and the school yard was filled with cars.

Rebecca Moe said...

Let me set your record straight. The Church is not used as a residence. If you look to the part on the left that is attached to the Church that is the part that is used as a residence. Please keep up to date with your records. Thank you.