Thursday, May 7, 2015

East Side Treasure to be Destroyed

Giant Eagle, Inc. has won its fight to demolish the historic St. John's United Church of Christ in nearby Cumberland. German immigrants founded the church on the northeast corner of East Washington Street and German Church Road in 1855. The congregation built a lovely brick Tudor-Revival structure in 1914.  Giant Eagle plans to put in a strip mall and possibly a gas station. Cumberland officials have tried valiantly to save the structure, but the Metropolitan Development Commission voted 4-2 in favor of destruction.  The Indianapolis City Council must still approve the measure, but the future does not look hopeful.  The beautiful edifice, which has stood on the site for over one hundred years, will likely have to give way to concrete blocks and asphalt.

St. John's United Church of Christ in 2015


  1. Based on some back-and-forth on a Howe alumni FB page, the primary problem appears to be the existing congregations small size, and hence inability to support the structure. Apparently what they are selling the land for (since the building is scheduled for demolition, the new owners obviously place zero--or negative--value on the building) will allow them to build a new, much smaller facility. I'm always sad to see interesting old buildings lost, but someone has to be able to keep them up and use them in some meaningful way.

  2. It is too bad to see this fine church bldg be sold and removed. They have taken away (or covered up) much of the stained glass windows on the Washington St. side of the building. When the congregation is unable to maintain the building, then there are few other alternatives. It would be as bad or worse to see the church bldg become an eyesore due to neglect. But still sad to see this old building go - thanks for the pictures. My son had a friend in Warren High School whose parents were pastors there and he and they enjoyed many fun get togethers at the church.