St. Mark’s United Church of Christ

St. Mark’s United Church of Christ reflects New Albany’s European immigrant heritage and the destruction caused by the devastating flood of 1937. During the early nineteenth century, political upheaval in what is now Germany led to massive emigration. By the mid-1830s, a sizeable German immigrant population lived in Floyd County, Indiana. Isolated linguistically from English speakers, German Protestants decided to form their own church. On October 23, 1837, Reverend Henry Evers organized Lutheran, Evangelical, and Reformed Christian German immigrants into an independent congregation. The church met in a school on State Street in New Albany before moving to the Court House. In 1842, the congregation purchased a lot on State Street and constructed a brick church by 1843.

The congregation continued to grow, leading the members to purchase the former structure of the St. Paul Episcopal Church on Spring Street in 1863. By 1869, the congregation needed more space and purchased two lots on East Spring Street. In 1870, the congregation moved into a new Gothic Revival building. The church stood on the same lot as the current church structure.

Natural disaster struck New Albany with the flood of January and February 1937. Throughout the Ohio River Valley, communities experienced mass flooding as a result of heavy rainfall. At one point, about twenty inches of water filled the German Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church building. The pastor’s family had to be evacuated by boat. The homes of about 100 members of the congregation also suffered damage.

In January 1957, the church demolished its existing building to make way for a larger structure. The congregation erected a modern building designed by Howard Wagoner Architects of Philadelphia. It also changed its name to St. Mark’s United Church of Christ. Today, the church is an important reminder of the historical influence of Germans in New Albany.

Images

St. Mark's

St. Mark's

St. Mark's occupies a prominent location in downtown New Albany, directly opposite the former Carnegie Library (now the Carnegie Center for Art and History).Image Courtesy of Daniel Vivian.  | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Spring Street Entrance

Spring Street Entrance

The facade of the church features a dramatic modernist entrance on Spring Street. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

St. Mark's United Church of Christ

St. Mark's United Church of Christ

The main sign for St. Mark's is proudly displayed for passing traffic on Spring Street. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Pulpit

Pulpit

The pulpit at St. Mark's, with choir seating in the background. Image Courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Sanctuary of St. Marks

Sanctuary of St. Marks

The interior and sanctuary of St. Marks. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

The open, vertical volume of the church sanctuary creates an inspiring space for worship. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Stained Glass

Stained Glass

The sanctuary features modernist-style stained glass windows celebrating Christian beliefs. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

New Cornerstone

New Cornerstone

Demolished in 1957, the current church erected a modern building designed by Philadelphia architect, Howard Wagoner. The new cornerstone laid at this time represents the longevity of the St. Mark's congregation. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Old Cornerstone

Old Cornerstone

When the church built its current building in 1958, members insisted on placing the cornerstone from the old Sunday school building in a prominent location near the entrance on Spring Street. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Ethnic Germans

Ethnic Germans

Scripture written in German is featured on a marble stone taken from the church building erected in 1899. St. Mark's held most of its services in German until World War I, when anti-German sentiment led the congregation to switch to English. Image courtesy of Daniel Vivian | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

1895 Baptismal Font

1895 Baptismal Font

A beautiful marble baptismal font, given to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Crumbo in 1895, now stands at the entrance to the fellowship hall. Image Courtesy of Daniel Vivian. | Source: Daniel Vivian | Creator: Daniel Vivian View File Details Page

Street Address:

222 East Spring Street, New Albany, IN [map]

Cite this Page:

Carl Creason, Hannah O'Daniel, Katherine Gann, Daniel Michael, and Leanna Smith, “St. Mark’s United Church of Christ,” Discover Indiana, accessed September 24, 2017, http://indyhist.iupui.edu/items/show/95.
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