Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jesus, hidden in a remodeled Church, La Grange, Kentucky

Located in what used to be the sanctuary of a beautiful historic church, this giant mural of Jesus the shepherd is now hidden from view, the whole building having been remodeled into office space.  Join us as we explore this church and the and the fascinating way that it has been saved through re-purposing. 

Street view of the church turned office.  All of the architectural elements have been saved and preserved, keeping the historic look of the building.  A few years ago, the steeple was restored, the rotten wood being replaced with fresh lumber.

Construction began on this church in 1888, and it was completed in 1889 at a total cost of $3,450.00.  Originally built for the Methodist Episcopal South, the structure continued to house the various incarnations and mergers of the organization until it was replaced by a more modern structure in 1993. 

This side view of the building shows that a handicap ramp and bike rack have been constructed, promoting its use by all.  Constructed of brick, the building features many arched windows filled with stained glass.
While no longer "branded," the decision was made to keep the original sign of the church.  It is now disused, thought maintained.
A little worse for the wear, the original front doors are still in daily use.
Upon looking up, guests will notice the trapdoor leading to the bell tower.  The lamp seems to be a modern replacement, though an effort has been made to match the original style somewhat.

Massive stained glass windows cover the building, flooding its interior with colorful light. 
After walking through a second set of doors, you will find yourself in the actual church.  Non-structural walls, perhaps eight feet in height have been added, dividing the interior into offices.  A drop ceiling has been added, permitting us to see only the bottom half of the windows.  The original wood floors are still present, albeit covered in carpet, though their waviness can be felt through the floor covering. 

After walking through a few hallways, one certain door beckons, that to the storage room.  It is filled with various things, though the elevated floor and planking of the sanctuary are clearly visible.  Looking up, the massive vaulted ceiling can also be seen.  But, what is that on the wall?
An enormous mural, still preserved, despite all of the renovation work.  It has been framed and painted around, but left untouched.  While the age of the painting is unclear, it is obviously quite old.  The skill of the artist can be seen, though no signature was visible on inspection.

Great care was taken to keep this historic building largely in it's original condition, while at the same time making it usable into its third century of existence.  All of the modifications can be easily undone, and new pews placed back into the building.  The whole structure could simply have been razed and replaced with a cinder block cube, devoid of any history or local context.  Instead, a brave decision was made to save this interesting building, and we here at Eerie Indiana commend those craftsmen, designers and decision makers who made it possible.

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