Battle Ground Institute, Campground and United Methodist Church
In 1857, the Northwest Indiana Conference of the M.E. Church began a popular academy called "Battleground Collegiate Institute" on the site of William Henry Harrison's famed battle of Tippecanoe. After some 25 years--mostly very successful--the school declined, but meanwhile, in 1874, the Conference established a campground on this property. For ninety-seven years, the tabernacle and facilities were the scene of powerful evangelistic services, youth and children's camps, and Epworth League annual meetings. By 1908, an estimated 200,000 people had attended these programs. In 1971, the camp grounds were acquired by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.
Today the Association operates a museum on the grounds. Outside the building, a large sign tells of the former Methodist presence here. North of the museum is a shaded, grassy expanse in which the tabernacle, hotel, dining hall, school, and cottages once stood. On the west side of these hallowed grounds is a surviving structure from the old campground days, a mid-nineteenth-century two-door chapel. Located at 40 30 28.54, -86 50 37.82, it has been restored and modernized and is available for weddings and meetings. Adjacent to the chapel is the Harrisonville cemetery (aka the Methodist Campground cemetery), with graves at least as early as 1838. Markers explain both sites.
The Northwest Conference of 1857 also envisioned a whole new community. Battle Ground City was platted in 1858, and lots were rapidly sold. A new church and preaching circuit were also established. The Battle Ground United Methodist Church remains active and may be visited and attended at 201 Tipton St. Its history is closely intertwined with the Institute and Campground.