Robertson Meeting House

Location

"Old Bethel"
Lawrenceport, Indiana

Category

U.M.- United Methodist

Description

Robertson Meeting House, formerly called “Old Bethel,” was built in 1807 by pioneer Nathan Robertson and his sons on their farm near Charlestown. It was visited by such early circuit riders as Peter Cartwright and was the host for an early camp meeting nearby. A family cemetery was established around the church and is still in use. The old timbered building served as a church for its first half-century, but in 1857 it was moved and ignominiously put to use as a barn for sheep and oxen. Then followed various uses, neglect, multiple moves, and restorations.

In 1904, the old church's fortunes brightened at last. The original Indiana Conference rescued it , and restored it at a cost of $257.75. Bishop John M. Walden rededicated it.

But there was more to come. Altogether, the building was dismantled and moved eight times, for a while residing in Charlestown, and next, the DePauw University campus, and, at last, in 1999, the Rivervale campground, where it serves as both a chapel and – with good reason – the most revered shrine in Indiana United Methodism.

Much more than merely another log church, the Robertson Meeting House has the distinction of being the oldest United Methodist church still standing in Indiana. The structure has been recognized by the General Commission on Archives and History as a United Methodist Historic Site, only the 32nd such designation to be made by the United Methodist Church world-wide.

GPS: 38 45 40.44, -86 23 31.96

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