Sunday, November 12, 2017

Lost Irvington--A Church

In 1900, the Indianapolis News announced that the Methodists of Irvington would be getting a larger building. There had been members of this faith in the neighborhood since its founding in 1870 and they had met in a variety of places. Mrs. Frances Barbour (possibly Barber) donated two lots on Layman Avenue north of East Washington Street with the stipulation that the Methodist build a brick edifice. The building committee seemed thrilled at the donation, but they had planned a wooden chapel. Mrs. Barbour's requirement forced the Methodists to raise some additional cash which they managed to do. By the winter of 1901, they moved into their new Gothic and Romanesque-inspired church.

For the next 25 years, the congregation met on Layman Avenue. However, by the late 1910s and early 1920s, the church membership had grown dramatically. Eventually, the congregation built a stunning church at 30 North Audubon Road. They kept the Layman Avenue structure and used it for a variety of purposes. In 1937, the Irvington Church of Christ moved into the facility and remained until 1964. Revivals and radio broadcasts could be heard from the older chapel throughout the mid-twentieth century. The Church of Christ grew too large for the smaller structure and they also moved out.

In 1965, the Irvington Methodist Church once again acquired the structure and demolished it for a parking lot for their booming congregation.  The site is still a parking lot in 2017 and most local Irvington residents do not know that a beautiful brick church once stood on the site.

In this photo, taken around 1948, Cynthia Hopping posed for parents, Don and Helen Louise Brown Hopping, on the steps of their home at 21 Layman Avenue. Behind her, you can see the former Irvington Church of Christ. The second image came from an advertisement in the Indianapolis News in 1944.

Cynthia Hopping posed on the steps of 21 Layman Avenue c1948. Behind her you can see the former Irvington Methodist Church/Irvington Church of Christ at 25 Layman Avenue. 

An ad in the Indianapolis News 1944. The church was torn down in 1965.
The historic image is courtesy of Ted Lollis.  

Sources:  "Irvington's New Church," Indianapolis News, October 6, 1900.
                "Meeting," Indianapolis Sentinel, February 22, 1885, 5.  


  1. Shouldn't the article have included that IUMC didn't just build a church on Audubon? The home of Thomas Carr Howe was already there, and they did build a new sanctuary, but the Howe home is still part of the church building.

    1. Good point, Carol. I shall probably wait and discuss the Howe Home and the Methodist Church when I write about the church at 30 N. Audubon Rd.

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