Historic houses. of worship. in downtown Danville. A publication of the Heart of Danville Main Street Program

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1 Historic houses of worship in downtown Danville A publication of the Heart of Danville Main Street Program

2 Meeting House at Constitution Square 134 South Second Street This is a 1942 replica of the log meeting house that originally stood at Constitution Square. It erected in 1784 under the guidance of the Rev. David Rice to serve the newly formed Concord Presbyterian congregation, the first Presbyterian church in Kentucky. Concord later became the First Presbyterian Church. SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church 117 East Main Street 1868 (image courtesy of Kay Arnold) St Patrick s was the first Catholic Church in Danville, located at 141 North Fifth Street. Built on land given by David McIlvoy, it was sold by the State to settle estate debts. The site is now a private residence. Gill s Tavern originally stood on the site that would become home to Danville s second Catholic Church, Sts Peter and Paul. The cornerstone for Sts Peter Paul was laid in1866 and the church was dedicated in the fall of By that time Catholics in Danville had been without a church for at least 36 years. The foundation stone-work of Sts Peter and Paul was done by Christopher Kehoe of Lebanon and the brick walls were partially erected by E.B. Russell of Danville. Carpentry work was done by Michael Redingher of Indiana, plastering by Barney Campbell of Louisville and painting by W.W. Tompkins & Co. The church was rededicated on July 2, 1989 after a large renovation enlarged the sanctuary to hold 600 people. 2 Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville

3 St. James AME Church (African Methodist Episcopal) 124 East Walnut Street St. James AME of Danville was organized in after a schism with the Colored Methodist Church over whether they should worship under white or Negro bishops. On June 30, 1877 the trustees, George Taylor, William Tompkins, Julius Caldwell, S.W. Brumfield, and William Jackson, bought the land where the present church stands. The congregation met in a blacksmith shop that stood on the land while the church was built. St James AME is the oldest African American church building in Danville. The original building was built in 1882 in a Gothic Revival style under the leadership of Rev. J.M. Turner. The Bible of Aunt Betty Curd, a church janitor, was sealed in the cornerstone. The building was renovated around1922 under the leadership of Rev. Herbert Brewer and is now Colonial Revival in style. (Image courtesy of Mary Girard) 1899 (Image courtesy of The Advocate-Messenger) New Mission Baptist Church (Gone) 228 South Second Street The New Mission Baptist Church was organized in 1892 by Rev. Wallace Fisher. Thirteen of the original members came from Green Street Baptist Church and one from the Centennial Baptist Church in Harrodsburg. The congregation worshiped in a hall until the trustees purchased a lot on Second Street. The 1896 and 1901 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps show a frame church on the spot where their future concrete building would be. This location was on the southern edge of the African American business district in an area that was more residential in character. In 1927, New Mission sold their church to the Colored Christian Church, now the Second Street Christian Church (Image courtesy of The Advocate-Messenger) Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville 3

4 Second Street Christian Church 228 South Second Street, Originally located on Green Street The Colored Christian Church was organized in 1869 when the African-American members of the Christian Church, located on the corner of South Fourth and Walnut, separated and moved to a church constructed on Green Street. Deed records indicate that James Taylor and wife sold the lot to the church on July 9, In 1922, they sold their church to the Church of God and held services on land on East Main Street. The Second Street Christian Church was built in 1908 by the New Mission Baptist Church on property the congregation acquired in 1893 near the corner of Green and Green and Second Streets (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Second). New Mission constructed the Romanesque Revival styled church building built with rusticated concrete block from The Church used the building until they sold it in (Image courtesy of The Advocate-Messenger) The Colored Christian Church purchased the building in November The Second Street Christian Church is Danville s second oldest African American Church in continuous use. A large window, now enclosed with brick, once faced Second Street. First Baptist Church (Formerly Green Street Baptist Church, also known as African Church) 200 West Walnut Street On August 1, 1846, the First Baptist Church for whites separated its 126 African American members into their own independent church known as the African Church. The original church was at 72 Green Street, now Martin Luther King Blvd, Before 1960 (Image courtesy of First Baptist Church) 4 Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville

5 and it was renamed Green Street Baptist Church. The congregation then moved into a church on the corner of Walnut and Second Streets, which was built about 1901, and the church was renamed again to First Baptist Church. The original First Baptist Church building burned down on December 26, The current structure was dedicated on December Green Street Baptist Church, , 1967 at the same location. It (Image courtesy of The Advocate-Messenger) is a brick Colonial style, planned by B.W. Shullent and built by Libscomb Reality and Improvement Company from Louisville. Blue Grass Judean Society (Gone) West Main Street In the 1940s, the Jewish community of Danville established the Blue Grass Judean Society. They met in a second-floor room of the Louisville Store outfitted as a sanctuary with an eternal light, an ark that served as a Torah, and prayer books. At that time, the Louisville Store, a regional department store, was owned by a local Jew, George Shapira (his brothers owned the other Louisville Stores in central Kentucky). Because Danville s Jewish population was small, the Judean Society brought in student rabbis from Hebrew Union The Blue Grass Judean Society met in a second-floor room of the Louisville Store, which is the building on the far left of the photograph above. College in Cincinnati to lead services and they only met once a month on Friday evenings. The Blue Grass Judean Society did not hold high holiday services. Danville Jews would travel the 35 miles north to Lexington for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Shapira and most Jewish merchants in Danville kept their stores closed for two days on Rosh Hashanah, but they did keep their stores open on Saturdays, which is the Sabbath for Jews. In 1950, Judean Society members decided to discontinue bringing in student rabbis due to limited funds and declining attendance and soon after the group dissolved. Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville 5

6 Trinity Episcopal Church 320 West Main Street Trinity Church is the oldest in-use church structure in Danville. It is also the oldest continuously used Episcopal church building in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington and the second oldest in the state. Trinity was built in 1830 and designed by Robert Russel, Jr. who also designed notable local landmarks Old Centre and the McClure-Barbee House. The church was consecrated on June 3, 1831 by Reverend William Meade, Assistant Bishop of Virginia. The original church structure was a rectangular block with a two-story vestibule or entry section centered on the façade. In 1842, a cupola was added to the vestibule to house the church bell. Inside the church, a gallery sat at the rear or north wall. As was the custom of the time, pews were painted white and had doors. A fire swept through the center of Danville on February 22, 1860, gutting the church and destroying the roof. Tradition has it that the members of the vestry met in the churchyard on the day after the fire, found the walls of the building structurally sound, and resolved to rebuild without delay. The reconstruction plans, implemented in 1860, called for several alterations which transformed the church into a Gothic Revival structure. Circa 1910 (Image courtesy of Centre College Archives) Centennial Memorial Methodist Church (Building empty, church relocated) Corner of Walnut and Third Streets The Danville Methodist Church was the first Methodist Church organized west of the Allegheny Mountains. A log church was constructed on this site in A brick church was built on the south side of Walnut in By 1901, the old 1835 church was being used as an agricultural implements store and it was torn down about 1952 when the hospital was built. In July 1891, the cornerstone of the third church was laid, a century af- 6 Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville

7 ter the original log church. The dedication of the Romanesque styled church at Third and Walnut Streets was held on August 28, The church is distinguished by its rough cut sandstone, arched stained glass windows, square tower, and turret. A large brick education wing with subtle Craftsman features was added to the church around In 2008 a flood and continued growth prompted the church, now called Centenary United Methodist Church, to relocate to a new building. The historic church building is currently for sale. The second Methodist church is shown in the background. The third Methodist church, in the foreground, still stands on Third Street today. Second Presbyterian Church SE Corner of Third Street and Broadway On November 29, 1852, 93 members of Danville s Concord (later First) Presbyterian Church separated to form their own church due to overcrowding. Second Presbyterian celebrated the consecration of their new church on April 30, The original Second Presbyterian Church was burned in the great fire of 1860 and the current Gothic Revival building was erected next to the original site and first used for services in In 1969, the two Presbyterian churches in Danville voted to reunite and Old First Presbyterian was chosen to house the reunited church. The existing building was unused as a church from 1973 until 2011 when the Danville Independent Methodist Church moved in. The church building has also served as an antique mall and a tea room. The bell tower was decapitated in May of 1982, while the building was being used as a furniture store. (Image courtesy of Penn s Store) Circa 1920 (Image courtesy of Centre Archives) Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville 7

8 First Baptist Church (Building Gone, Church Relocated) 317 Broadway Street On June 7, 1823, First Baptist became the third church to organize in Danville. The church later built a simple brick structure for services on Broadway Street around There were two doors, one of the men and one for the women. Between the two doors was the pulpit and a rear balcony was built for use by slaves. In August of 1881, a fire destroyed the brick church building. In less than a year, a new brick Romanesque church was erected and the First Baptist Church was able to complete construction entirely debt free. This church stood for well over a century and was ultimately torn down as part of the Boyle County Public Library expansion. Lexington Avenue Baptist Church (New Baptist Church) 339 West Lexington Avenue Under the first pastor, Dr. C.C. Warren, the cornerstone for this church was laid May 19, The church was designed by Frankel and Curtis and the builder was J.E. Foster. This towering Colonial Revival church building features a two-story portico or entry porch, two-story keystone arched windows and a central 1940 (Image Courtesy of Centre College Archives) bell tower. In 1969, during the pastorate of Dr. Austin Roberts, the Educational Building was dedicated. On February 2, 2003 was the re-dedication of the church sanctuary after major renovations were completed. 8 Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville

9 First Christian Church (Relocated, 2 of 4 locations destroyed by fire) 201 S Fourth Street 462 W Main Street The First Christian Church s original building was located at 201 South Fourth Street just off Walnut. The brick structure was completed in 1847, and later destroyed in the great fire of A second Gothic Revival structure was built on the same site and dedicated in When the church moved into a larger building, the property was sold and the building later served as a Moose Lodge, a movie theater, and an apartment building. The third First Christian Church at 462 West Main Street was constructed in It was a unique Classical Revival style building with a central dome and pedimented porch and wings. This church also fell to fire in First Christian Church ultimately relocated outside of downtown Danville at 555 East Lexington Avenue. The current church that serves the congregation was completed in Concord Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Gone) (Second Presbyterian Church) 437 Walnut Street The original building where the African-American Presbyterian congregation met in Danville was owned and later demolished by the First Presbyterian Church. The materials from the former African-American church building were moved to the northeast corner of Church and Walnut Streets where a new sanctuary was constructed. This new church was known as the Concord Presbyterian Church, the same name that was utilized by the white congregation when the Presbyterian Church was founded in Danville. A school was added to the church in the late-nineteenth century (Image courtesy of The Advocate-Messenger) Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville 9

10 First Presbyterian Church (Old First) 500 West Main Street Originally known as Concord Presbyterian Church, Danville s First Presbyterian Church was first led by Father David Rice and met in the Meeting House at Constitution Square during the late 18th century. The Presbyterian Church moved into their own building in 1788 and the lot on Fifth and Main Street where the First Presbyterian Church still stands today was purchased by the congregation in The Main Street Presbyterian church was designed by Robert Russel Jr (also the architect of Old Centre, McClure-Barbee House and Trinity Episcopal Church) and built by his father, Robert Russel Sr. The central square entry tower with battlements is a unique feature to the building and the Gothic arched windows were added part of a renovation in In 1969, after two previous unsuccessful attempts, the First and Second Presbyterian Church congregations in Danville voted to reunite. When the two local congregations joined, First Presbyterian Church was chosen as the site for the reunited church. In 1995, recognizing the need for more space as the programs for the church continued to grow, the congregation voted to enter into an extensive renovation and expansion program. 10 Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville

11 Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Danville 11

12 SO YOU KNOW May is National Preservation Month. An umbrella initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, local preservation organizations adopt the Trust s annual theme to promote historic sites and preservation and advocacy efforts in our communities s theme is See! Save! Celebrate!, and at the Heart of Danville we feel this is a great occasion to take a closer look at a very special set of resources in our historic downtown -- our houses of worship. This booklet highlights all the prominent congregations and churches that have called downtown Danville home throughout our 200 plus year history -- some that no longer exist and many that have persevered and store layers of our local religious and civic history. We hope this booklet provides you, the reader and sight seer, the necessary background to appreciate the architectural history and beauty of our churches and the perseverance of our local congregations that have left a longterm and significant mark on our downtown landscape. A SPECIAL THANKS Special thanks to Mary Girard, Archivist at the Boyle County Library, for compiling the histories and images presented in this booklet. Sources for our information include Keepers of the Faith: Black Churches in Boyle County by Richard C. Brown, Danville and Boyle County in the Bluegrass Region in Kentucky by Janet Hamner and Mary Jo Joseph, newspaper articles from the Advocate Messenger (and its predecessors: Daily Messenger and the Advocate), applications for the National Register of Historic Places, and individual church histories. Thanks also to Kasey Hill, Communications Coordinator at the Economic Development Partnership, who is responsible for the graphic design of the booklet. This publication was made possible by the Heart of Danville and the Heart of Danville Design and Preservation Committee.

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