Friday, June 14, 2013

Missions Building c1915

The Christian Woman's Board of Missions opened their training school in Irvington in 1910.  Hundreds of missionaries over the years received training at the school operated by the Disciples of Christ.  Graduates traveled the world and some came back to teach at the institution.  Butler University students  were allowed to attend classes there and had only a short walk from campus.  Chinese, Tibetans, and Indians were just some of the nationalities who came to live in Irvington to work at this international institution.  The Disciples of Christ moved their headquarters onto the site and 222 Downey Avenue was on letterheads and envelopes in places like Beijing, Tokyo, and Cairo.  The institution eventually added wings so the view shown in today's historic image is no longer possible.

The historic postcard shows women in their long dresses gathered at the entrance of the building. Someone has marked an X on one of the windows perhaps indicating the office for where he or she worked.

Christian Woman's Board of Missions c1915

By the 1990s, the Disciples of Christ pulled out of Irvington provoking a small crisis as to what to do with the sprawling complex of buildings.  One proposal called for knocking down all of the buildings, including the Bona Thompson Library, for condos.  Stalwart Irvington neighbors rallied and found a developer to turn the site into senior citizen housing, thus saving the historic buildings for another century.

Side entrance to Missions Building in 2013

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