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CRA020 -- City Methodist Church Records
  
Calumet Regional Archives

CRA 020: Photographs | Postcards

Inventory

4.75 Linear Feet
September 2007

Brief History

In 1906, a group of settlers in the new city of Gary, Indiana organized the First Methodist Episcopal Church.  The first meetings were held in the small school building near the old Lake Shore depot.  Later services were held in various facilities until the first church building at 7th and Adams was built in 1910.

The United States Steel Corporation was convinced to join the Methodists in construction of a great community church at the corner of 6th and Washington in downtown Gary, later known as City Methodist Church.  The corporation donated $385,000 in matching funds.  The eventual cost of the church building, community house, and commercial space was to top $1 million.

The construction took 21 months.  Built of Bedford limestone, it was Gothic in style with a 50-foot tall sanctuary nave and elaborate stonework. 

The community house auditorium, Seaman Hall, was used for musical and dramatic presentations, community meetings, and various social and educational events.  The commercial space was supposed to generate enough income to mitigate the enormous cost of maintaining the building, but failed.

During the 1950s, a boom in church membership saw the rolls reaching 3,000 but declined steadily thereafter.  By the 1970s, Sunday attendance was closer to 100 and in 1975 the church disbanded and closed its doors.

Those interested in a fuller account of its saga are urged to read City of the Century by James B. Lane (Indiana University Press, 1978) and also The Protestant Experience in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1975: At Home in the City by James W. Lewis (University of Tennesse Press, 1992)

 


Box File Description
1 1 Various, Historical information, City Methodist Church, (1912-1978)
2 Typescript, Methodism in Gary, n.d.
3

Report, “First Methodist Episcopal Church, Gary, Indiana.  Type of Ministry, Program, Organizations, workers, location, building,” by W. G. Seaman, ca. 1920

4 Typescript, The Proposed New First Church, Gary, n.d.
5 Typescript, Program of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Gary, Indiana, (What does Methodism propose to do in Gary?), n.d.
6 Correspondence, Regarding Methodism in Gary, ca. 1920s
7 Booklet and correspondence, Methodism in Gary and Vicinity:  a Study  by the Bureau of Social and Religious Research, Garrett Biblical Institute, 1957           
8 Survey, City Methodist Church, by Boston University School of Theology, October 19, 1959
9 Report, “The Calumet Region:  Unusual Advantages for Industry”, by W. G. Seaman, n.d.
10 Typescript, Industrial chaplaincy, n.d.
11 Booklet, The City Church (United Methodist), n.d.
 
  SERIES:  CITY CHURCH BUILDING
12 Correspondence, Capital campaign and construction, (1908-1926)
13 Promissory notes, Women’s Association, 1925)
14 Correspondence, Regarding building of City Methodist (from Methodist Archives, DePauw University), (1916-1922)
15 Resolution, U.S. Steel Corporation Finance Committee regarding payment to the Methodist Episcopal Church at Gary, Indiana for Lands and Various Buildings, May 27, 1924
16 Typescript, Gary Land Company quit claim for First Methodist Episcopal land, 1925
17 Report, “Symbolism used in Carvings of the City Church of Gary, Indiana”, 1925
18

Correspondence, Lighting, 1925-1926

19 Correspondence, Plastering, n.d., 1925
20 Correspondence, Interior decoration and windows, n.d., 1926
21

Correspondence, American Seating Company, 1926-1928

22 Planning documents, Stained glass windows (historical), 1926-1927
23 Various, Windows, (1950-1967)
24 Lists/invoices, Furnishings and equipment, ca.1926
25 Correspondence, Community Hall equipment, 1926
26 Floor plan, City Church, Seaman Building, May, 1959
27

Seating charts, Worship unit, n.d.

28

Speech transcript, “The Romance of City Church Architecture”, given before the WSCS by Mrs. Basil Clark, 1938

29 Paper, Architecture and symbolism of the worship unit of City Methodist Church, 1962
30 Pamphlet, Regarding repairs needed to church physical plant, ca.1966?
31 Bulletins, Opening and Dedication, The City Church, First Methodist Episcopal, October 3, 1926
32 Booklets, “City Methodist Church”, 1951 (25th Anniversary)
33 Booklets, “City Methodist Church (First Methodist Church), 1956 [Fiftieth anniversary]
34 Correspondence, 50th Anniversary Window fund, 1956
 
  SERIES: STATE OF THE CHURCH
1 35 List, Emphases and objectives for remainder of conference year, October 12, 1954
36 Statistics, Pastor’s Report to Annual Conference, 1967-1968
37 Reports, City United Methodist survey, 1970
38 Report, State of the Church, Charge Conference, November, 1971 (includes membership numbers, 1961-1971)
39 Report, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, Pastor’s Report to the Administrative  Board, February 4, 1973
40 Correspondence and Related Materials, Attempt to Save City Methodist Church, 1974-1975
41 Resolutions, Regarding dissolving City Methodist Church, ca. 1974
42

Letter, Regarding distribution of furnishings at   closing of the church, August, 1975

 
  SERIES: MEMBERSHIP
43 Directories, Membership, 1934, 1969?
44

Agenda, Home Hearth Meetings, Commission on Membership and Evangelism, November 25, 1957

45 Lists, New members, 1955-1960
46 Lists, New members, 1960-1962
47 Lists, New members, 1962-1966
48 Various, New members dinner by Fellowship Friends, (1962-1963)
 
  SERIES: PROGRAMS AND LEADERSHIP
49 Yearbook, City Church, 1937-1938
50 Calendar, Of birthdays and meetings, 1955
51 Booklets, “This Year’s Program at City Methodist Church, 50th Anniversary Year”, 1956-1957
52 Yearbook, “A Year of Opportunity for Every Age”, 1957-1958
53 Booklets, The Church Program, 1958-1959
54 Various, The Church Program, 1958-1959
55 Minutes, Official Board, (1920-1922) (photocopies from Methodist Archives, DePauw University)
56 Minutes, Official Board, 1939-1940
57 Directory, Official Board, 1958-1959
58 Various, New Year’s Eve publicity, (1957-1964)
59 Various, Official Family Retreats, Epworth Forest, North Webster, Indiana, (1966-1967)
60 Various, Vocational Seminar for Girls, 1966
61 Correspondence, Methodist Committee on Interracial Problems, 1963
62 Correspondence, Interracial Home Visitation Day, 1963
63 Correspondence, Various topics, (1969-1971)
 
  SERIES: FINANCIAL
64 Budget materials, 1971, n.d.
65 Pamphlets, Budget projections, n.d., ca. 1961
66 Financial statements, (1919-1956)
67 Financial report, First Methodist Episcopal Church (photocopy from Methodist Archives, DePauw University), 1922
 
  SERIES: ADMINISTRATIVE
68 Directories, Plans of organization, City Methodist Church, 1958-1959, 1959-1960
69 Minutes, Commissions, (1967-1968)
70

Lists, Boards, committees, commissions, 1967-1972)

71 Various, Biographical information on ministers, (1942-1969)
72 Sermons, Rev. William E. Clark, (1940-1941)
73 Various, Rev. William E. Clark, (1932-1946)   biographical material, (n.d., 1942-1946, 1954)
74 Various, Rev. and Mrs. Harvey R. DeBra biographical material, 1943, 1944
75 Various, Rev. Allen B. Rice biographical material, 1946-1953
76 Table, City Church staff schedule, 1957-1958
77 Various, Music, n.d., (1912-1943)
78

Programs, Music ministry, n.d. (1951-1975)

79 Various, Sunrise Service, (1959-1964)
80 Correspondence, From membership secretary and various committees, (1966-1969)
81 Job descriptions, Secretarial positions, n.d.
82 Rules, Facilities rental, 1970
83 Lists, Supplies, n.d.
84 Forms, Men Who Died in Service from City Church, (1944-1946)
85 Report, Pastor’s Report, 1964
 
  SERIES: WOMEN'S GROUPS
2 1 Constitution, Women’s League of City Church, 1933
2 Minutes, Women’s Society of Christian Service, January 1948-December 1950
3 Minutes, Women’s Society of Christian Service, January 1951-May 1954
4 Yearbooks, Women’s Society of Christian Service, (1946-1968)
5 Essay, Circles of the Women’s Society of Christian Service, 1961
6

Program, City Church United Methodist Women, Sacrificial Luncheon, March 21, 1974

7 Booklets, Mother-Daughter Banquet Programs, (1967-1971)
 
  SERIES: YOUTH GROUPS
8 Various, Epworth League, 1908, 1923, n.d.
9 Typescript, Regarding Sunday School, 1934
10 Directory, Your Quarters’ Worth, Church School   Administration, ca. 1958
11 Letter, Regarding Methodist Youth Fellowship activity, November, 1957
12 Various, MYF Booth Festival, (1962-1964)
13 Various, MYF Retreat, 1964, 1965
14 Various, Rally Day, (1961-1967)
15 Notices, Youth activities, 1964
 
  SERIES: OTHER ACTIVITIES
16 Various, City Church Athletic Association, 1927-1929
17 List, City Club calendar, November, 1957
18

Various, Oxford League, 1964-1966

19 Poster, “The Hive” downtown youth center, n.d.
20 Correspondence, Lim family sponsorship, 1956-1957
21 Various, Boy Scouts, (1961-1966)
22 Conference materials, Senior Girl Scouts, n.d.
23 Various, Northwest Indiana Conference of the Methodist Church, (1958-1959), n.d.
24 Various, Sub-district Ministers, 1964-1966
25 Various, Committee on Jubilee, ca. 1956
 
  SERIES: BULLETINS
26 Bulletins, (1930-1950)
27 Bulletins, 1949-1950
28 Bulletins, 1950-1951
29 Bulletins, 1950-1951
30 Bulletins, 1953
31 Bulletins, 1954
32 Bulletins, 1954-1955
33 Bulletins, 1955-1956
34 Bulletins, September 4, 1955 – August 26, 1956
35 Bulletins, January 1 – August 26, 1956
36 Bulletins, September 2 – December 30, 1956
3 1 Bulletins, September 2, 1956 – August 25, 1957
2 Bulletins, 1956-1957
3 Bulletins, January 6 – August 25, 1957
4 Bulletins, September 1 – December 29, 1957
5 Bulletins, January 5 – June 29, 1958
6 Bulletins, July 6 – December 31, 1958
7 Bulletins, January 4 – June 28, 1959
8 Bulletins, July 5 – December 27, 1959
9 Bulletins, 1960
10 Bulletins, 1961
11 Bulletins, 1962
12 Bulletins, 1963
13 Bulletins, 1964
14 Bulletins, 1964
15 Bulletins, June 1966 – May 1967
16 Bulletins, June 1967 – May 1968
17 Bulletins, June 1968 – May 1969
18 Bulletins, April 5 – July 26, 1970
19 Bulletins, August 2 – December 27, 1970
4 1 Bulletins, January 3 – June 27, 1971
2 Bulletins, July 4 – December 19, 1971
3 Bulletins, January – July, 1972
4 Bulletins, August – December, 1972
5 Bulletins, January – June, 1973
6 Bulletins, July – December, 1973
7 Bulletins, January – July, 1974
8 Bulletins, August – December, 1974
9 Bulletins, January – June, 1975
10 Bulletins, July – October 5, 1975
 
  SERIES: NEWSLETTERS
11 Newsletters, (3), The Church Promoter, vol. 1, no. 1, December 1, 1911; vol. 1, no. 7, June, 1912; vol. 1, no. 12, December, 1912
12 Calumet District News, The Sentinel, (1964-1966)
13 Newsletters, City Church News, v.1, no. 1-4. 1956
14 Newsletters, Tower Talk, (1956-1960)
15 Newsletters, Tower Talk, September 24, 1964 – May 26, 1965
16 Newsletters, Tower Talk, June 2, 1965 – May 25, 1966
17 Newsletters, Tower Talk, June 1, 1966 – May 24, 1967
18 Newsletters, Tower Talk, May 31, 1967 – September 18, 1968
19 Newsletters, Tower Talk, September 25, 1968 – June 25, 1969
20 Newsletters, Tower Talk, September 3, 1969 – March 25, 1970
21 Newsletters, Tower Talk, January 22, 1973 – February 5, 1975
 
  SERIES: VARIOUS
22 Pamphlet, Protestant Churches of Gary, Indiana, ca. 1957
23 Report, Reconnaissance Study of the Inner City, Gary, Indiana, Indiana Council of Churches, ca. 1964
24 Theatre program, “The Bishop’s Company”, 1964
25 Christmas card, Greetings on Behalf of City Church, n.d.
26 Booklets, Campbell Friendship House, 1943
27 Roster, Gary Joint Hospital Fund, Professional Gifts Division, Clergy Section, n.d.
28

Directories, Methodist ministers – Lake County [hospital chaplain’s roster of clergy by denomination, by town], n.d.

29 Directory, Roster of Gary Civic, Professional and Fraternal Organization Presidents compiled by the Gary Chamber of Commerce, 1957
30 Various, Calumet Pastoral Care and Counseling Center, 1957-1959
31 Directory, Gary Community Welfare Council, 1958-1959
32 Booklet, Directory of Community Services for Lake County, Indiana, 1959
33 Various, Lake County Migrant Ministry, 1963
34 Typescript, Report Touching the Work of the Methodist Church with the Spanish Speaking Group in Gary, ca. 1927
35 Report, Work with the Spanish speaking, n.d.
36

Various, Christian Commission on Social Concerns, 1962-1965

37 Various, Lake County and State Senators and Representatives (Social Concerns), (1961-1964)
38 Meeting notice, Gary Inner City Churches, September 27, 1965
39 Various, Gary Fellowship of Ministers, (1965-1966)
40 List, Greater Gary Chamber of Commerce membership, 1968
41 Various, Council of Churches, Northwest Indiana, 1964-1965
42 Booklet, Northwest Indiana Conference Appointments, 1967-1968
43 Booklet, Gary, Indiana: City of the Century, 1963
44 Statement of purpose, Christian Welfare Service, Northwest Indiana Council of Churches, 1965
45

Various, Downtown Community Council, n.d.

46

Various, Youth Opportunity Center, 1200 Broadway, n.d.

 
  SERIES: ARTICLES
47 Article, “The Day Nursery” [beginning of Campbell Friendship House], The Church Promoter, March, 1913
48 Article, “The Church School” (interface with the public schools), no ID, October, 1915
49 Article, “Mrs. Avann’s Work in the Local Church”, no ID, October, 1915
50 Newsarticles, (14), City Church history, Gary Post- Tribune, October 7, 1926, 195, n.d.
51 Newsarticles, (17), Regarding City Methodist pastors, (1916-1970, n.d.)
52 Newsarticle, “History of Methodism will be given by Cast of 160 in Pageant at City Church September 30”, no ID, September 19, 1927
53

Newsarticles, (23), News about church members, (n.d., 1939-1970)

54 Newsarticle, “City Church Won’t Bless War, Official Board Decides; Will Respect Objectors”, Gary Post-Tribune, September 22, 1939
55 Newsarticle, “They’re on Church’s Cradle Roll”, Gary Post, October 9, 1939
56 Newsarticles, (3), “Pastor Comes to Gary to Aid Drive on Debt”, Gary Post-Tribune, October 31, 1940
57 Newsarticle, “Present Vase to Church” (Davitt), Gary Post, January 16, 1942
58

Newsarticles, (7), Biographical information, William Grant Seaman, 1942, 1943, n.d.

59 Newsarticle, “Bishop Blake to Be Buried in Evanston”, Gary Post, May 27, 1943
60

Newsarticles, (2), “Laura Seaman Dies; Widow of Gary Pastor”, Gary Post, March 3, 1944; “Mrs. Wm. G. Seaman’s Memory Honored by Stewart House Gift”, Gary Post, July 21, 1944

61

Newsarticle, “City Church Building is 25 Years Old”, Gary Post-Tribune, October 13, 1951

62 Newsarticle, “City Methodist Church Early Vision of Seaman”, Gary Post-Tribune, May 20, 1956
63 Newsarticles, (6), Members activities, 1969, n.d.
64 Newsarticle, “City Church Honors 23 as ‘Oldest’”, no ID, May 18, 1969
65 Newsarticle, “Gary Inner City: 13 Collegians Complete Work-Study Slate Here”, Post-Tribune, Summer, 1969
66 Newsarticle, “New Scout Camp Dedicated” (Camp Anderson), Post-Tribune, October 5, 1969
67 Newsarticle, “In NAACP banquet talk, Wilkins decries violence”, Post-Tribune, n.d.
68

Newsarticle, “Methodists:  On Move, Lauding Gary Future, Hatcher, Two Others Urge Social Action”, Post-Tribune, October 11, 1969

69 Newsarticle, “City Methodist WSCS Looks to Christmas”, Gary Post-Tribune, October 19, 1969
5 1 Newsarticles, (2), “Dream Goes Awry”, September 14, 1974 (pt.1); “City Church Needed a Miracle”, September 15, 1974 (pt.2), Post-Tribune
2 Newsarticle, “Downtown landmark will close”, Post-Tribune, April 20, 1975
3 Letter to the editor, “Closing church no easy move”, Post-Tribune, June 10, 1996
4 Newsarticle, “Peering inside the region’s ruins”, The Times, April 4, 1999
5 Newsarticle, “True Grit: Gary’s Redevelopment plans could produce a Hollywood-style comeback”, Chicago Tribune, March 12, 2000
6 Newsarticle, “Era ends for Gary church”, Post-Tribune, June 7, 2005
7 Newsarticle, “Architect sees gutted church in Gary as a ‘ruins garden’”, Post-Tribune, June 18, 2006
8 Newsarticle, “Neglected Indiana Church Once an Engine for Change”, Chicago Tribune, February 27, 2007
8a Newsarticles, "Abandoned City Church to become a Public Park/Faithful Lament Building's Ruins," Post-Tribune, October 8, 2007
8b Newsarticle, "Creating Beauty from the Past," The Times, December 16, 2007
8c Newsarticle, "Fight for Ruined Church Rages," Post-Tribune, April 28, 2008
9 Newsarticles, 25th Anniversary, Post-Tribune, October 16, 1951, n.d.
10

Newsarticle, [Golden Jubilee Celebration], Post-Tribune, n.d.

11

Newsarticle, “Fond memories of another place that served us well”, Post-Tribune, n.d.

12 Newsarticle, “How a New Church Has Set About Installing Christ in a City’s Heart”, no ID, n.d.
13 Newsarticles, Methodist Hospital Auxiliary, n.d.
14

Newsarticle, “Two Churches will Unite for Special Advent service, n.d.

 
6   SERIES: OVERSIZE
  Poster, (1), Music from Wagner’s Parsifal, n.d.
  Posters, (3), Calumet Region Mission to America presenting Dr. Alan Walker, n.d.
  Posters, (2), A Gospel to Proclaim!, part of the 108th Session of the Northwest Indiana Conference, n.d.

 

 


Subject Tracings

  • Campbell House
  • Churches, Gary
  • City Methodist Church
  • Gary, Ind.
  • Methodism
  • Race relations
  • Religious organizations