Wall Street UMC

Location

240 Wall Street
Jeffersonville, Indiana

Category

U.M.- United Methodist

Description

Wall Street UM Church. In 1807, Rev. Moses Ashworth formed the first regular society in a dwelling in Jeffersonville as part of the Silver Creek Circuit. They met in private homes, then in the old Court House. Later they worshipped in a church erected by "feet-washing Baptists."

In 1821 the Silver Creek and Charlestown circuits combined. James Armstrong served this circuit for two years, but it proved to be too great a territory.

In 1833, Jeffersonville separated and became a station under the leadership of its pastor, Edward R. Ames (later bishop). The church bought ground on Wall Street where the present church stands and launched a building campaign.

An addition built in 1840 created a long, narrow structure which Pastor Thomas M. Eddy called the "hemp rope factory."

By 1858, the congregation was building again. In 1860 Bishop Thomas Bowman dedicated the basement. In 1863, an elaborate steeple with a cross was erected, causing dissension among those members who didn't "hold with" crosses on Protestant houses of worship.

Dedication of the main auditorium was delayed by the war until July 6, 1865. The total cost of the new edifice was nearly $25,000.

In 1867, Rev. G.P. Jenkins led a monumental revival which continued for one hundred days. But the next year a setback occurred. Twenty-two members withdrew from Wall Street and organized a congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It eventually became Morton Memorial Church.

Years of growth and service were rudely interrupted in January, 1937, by a disastrous flood of the Ohio River. Water was three feet deep in the second floor sanctuary. It took two weeks for the waters to recede and nearly six weeks before the church could be used for services.

Financial difficulties caused by the flood and the Great Depression piled up a debt of nearly $35,000. Not until 1945 was the debt paid off and the mortgage burned.

The congregation suffered another trauma in 1979. In February an arsonist torched the historic building and totally destroyed it. Over 100 firefighters from five departments fought the fire in bitter cold. Fortunately, the church's historic records and the large music library were saved.

Reminders of the old historic building were incorporated into the new structure; the front of the sanctuary is made of salvaged brick from the 1865 portion of the building

Regaining its strength, the church celebrated its bicentennial in September, 2007. Bishop Coyner led the celebration.

GPS: 38 16 19.94, -85 44 19.73
 

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