Second Presbyterian Church (Sanctuary, Chapel, and exterior)
To add to our list of churches for the November 1 event at the President Benjamin Harrison home's gallery, we're adding 2nd Pres.!. A bit of a walk in history w this church...
In talking with officials at the church, I discovered quite a fascinating history accompanies this church. Below is what I was able to Google...but I will be contacting a Mr. Fred Kortepeter, an elder and historian for the church, to see if he will give us a tour of both the sanctuary and chapel. I understand from the church officials that Mr. Kortepeter has written a book on this church's fascinating history (a bit different from what I was able to find!); and he also was a member of some of the earlier churches.
The Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis was organized on 5, July, 1823 by Reverends Isaac Reed and David C. Proctor and was handled by the Presbytery of Louisville. The first structure was built on Pennsylvania Street near Market Street.
In 1837 the Presbyterian Church in America experienced a rift between what was known as the more conservative Old School and the liberal New School. This division affected the church in Indianapolis a year later when a group of fifteen members led by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher formed the New School General Assembly, which soon became the Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis. The original church property was then divided and the original assembly became the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis. The Reverend Phineas D. Gurley became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in 1840 and a new building was erected on the corner of Market and Circle streets in October 1842.
A second church structure on the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and New York streets was begun in 1864 with the west end/chapel being completed in 1866. The main building and audience hall did not open for use until 29,December, 1867. The Reverend J. Howard Nixon was the church's pastor at the time. Nixon served as pastor from 1861 until poor health forced his resignation in 1869. After several changes in leadership, the Reverend M. L. Haines of Astoria, New York, was named pastor in February 1885. Dr. Haines remained pastor until poor health forced his retirement in 1901.
In 1900 the church's location was designated as the site for a new federal building. The church-appointed committee decided to move to a location on the corner of 16th and Delaware streets. The cornerstone was laid on 16 June 1902 and the church was occupied and dedicated on 4 October 1903. President Benjamin Harrison became an elder in 1861 at the age of 28 and remained one of the church's leaders until his death in 1901.
In 2001 the building became the home for the Harrison Center for the Arts with Redeemer Presbyterian Church sharing adjacent space. The cornerstone was removed at this time and its contents, which also included the items from the cornerstones of the 1841 and 1866 structures, were donated to the Indiana Historical Society.