Home‎ > ‎Churches‎ > ‎

Second Presbyterian Church

Location:  Corner of Pennsylvania and Vermont streets.

    The materials for the ensuing sketch of this organization have been chiefly obtained from a discourse preached at the opening of the present chapel, by Rev. Hanford A. Edson, the pastor.

    The society was formed, with fifteen members, November 19, 1838, in the Marion County Seminary, a small brick building standing, until 1860, at the south-west corner of University Square.  The Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, the first pastor, entered upon his work July 31st, 1839.  Worship was continued in the Seminary for a year.  Afterward the congregation removed to their own edifice, the present High School building, on the north-west corner of Circle and Market streets, occupying at first the lecture-room.  This house was dedicated to the worship of the Most High, October 4th, 1840.  On the 19th of September, 1847, the pastorate of Mr. Beecher closed, and he removed to Brooklyn, New York, where he has since gained the reputation as a pulpit orator, with which the world is familiar.  He was succeeded by Rev. Clement E. Babb, at the time a student in Lane Seminary, now associate editor of the Herald and Presbyter, of Cincinnati.  He commenced work May 7th, 1848, and continued in the pastorate until January 1st, 1853.  IT was under his supervision that a colony, now the Fourth Presbyterian Church, was established, with twenty-four members.  This occurred November 30th, 1851.  The third pastor, Rev. Thornton A. Mills, began his work January 1st, 1854, and remained with the Church three years, the relation between pastor and people, being dissolved by the Presbytery, February 9th, 1857.  Dr. Mills having been elected Secretary of the General Assembly's Committee on Education, went at once to New York.  He is the only one of the pastors of the Church not now living.  He died suddenly June 19th, 1867.  Rev. George P. Tindall was his successor, called to the pastorate August 6th, 1857, and continuing in the field until September 27th, 1863.  During his ministry, in 1858 and 1859, large numbers were added to the Church.  The present pastor, Rev. Hanford A. Edson, has occupied the place since January 17th, 184.  On the 15th of May of that year, a building was dedicated at the corner of Michigan and Blackford streets for a Mission Sunday School, which had been established by members of the Second Church, and which has now grown into the "Fifth Presbyterian Church."  November 20th, 187, another colony, the "Olivet Presbyterian Church," was formed with twenty-one members, a house of worship having been dedicated for them a month previous.

    For the beautiful stone edifice at the corner of Pennsylvania and Vermont streets, of which we present an engraving, ground was broken in the spring of 1864.  The corner stone was laid May 14th, 1866; the chapel occupied December 22d, 1867; and the completed edifice dedicated January 9th, 1870.  Mr. Joseph Curzon, of this city is the architect.  The entire cost of the property is about $105,000.  The present membership of the church is considerably above four hundred.  The Sabbath-School is in a flourishing condition, and has three hundred pupils enrolled.

    Besides the pastor, the officers of the society are as follows:

    Ruling Elders.--William N. Jackson, Samuel F. Smith, Enoch C. Mayhew, Edwin J. Peck, John S. Spann, William S. Hubbard, Thomas A. Morris, Moses R. Barnard, and Frederick W. Chislett.

    Deacons.--Sandford Morris, Edward S. Field, Clement A. Greenleaf, George W. Crane, WIlliam W. Wentz, Richard M. Smock, David W. Coffin, and Willis H. Pettit.

    Trustees.--William P. Fishback, William M. Wheatley, John S. Spann, James M. Bradshaw, and William Mansur.

    The church edifice is massive and imposing.  It is built, from foundation to spire, of rubble limestone; the corners, buttresses, and other projecting angles, being artistically face with dressed stone.  Its architecture is the Gothic style of the twelfth century.  The auditorium is seventy-eight feet in length by fifty-seven feet in width; thirty-seven feet high in the center, and twenty-six and one-half feet at the side walls; with a recess for the choir twelve by thirty-two feet, and another for the pulpit, five by fourteen feet.  The ceiling is finished in ash and black walnut; with plastered panels separated by stucco mouldings.  The pews, pulpit, and other wood work, in the interior, are also, richly finished in walnut and ash.  The windows are highly ornamented.  The chapel, session room, and pastor's study are in keeping with the elegance of the auditorium; as is, also, the Sabbath-School room, now in the second story.  The auditorium is lighted by silvered reflectors.  The main tower is one hundred and sixty-one and one-half feet in height, and eighteen feet square at the base.  A smaller tower at the entrance to the chapel, is ninety-five and one-half feet in height.  Without, the structure is massive and artistic; within, it is elegantly and tastefully finished and furnished.

Holloway, W. R., Indianapolis, a Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City, a Chronicle of Its Social, Municipal, Commercial and Manufacturing Progress, with Full Statistical Tables, © 1870, pp. 208-210.