From the early years of white population in Anderson, churches have been among the most significant landmarks.
But as congregational patterns, demands on buildings and demographic factors changed over the years, doing business at the old stand, so to speak, has gone the way of the horse and buggy.
A few landmark institutions of spiritual sustenance are still at their original locations. Central Christian Church has always been at 10th and Jackson streets. St. Mary’s Catholic Church, reputed to stand on the highest ground in the city, remains at 11th and Fletcher streets. Trinity Episcopal is at 1030 Brown-Delaware. And First Presbyterian Church is still at 230 W. Ninth St.
Others are still at original locations but with a completely different look. First United Methodist rebuilt at 12th and Jackson after a fire in the 1960s destroyed the old sanctuary. First Church of the Nazarene greatly expanded from its original building at 2324 Jackson Street. Across Meridian, South Meridian Church of God recently completed a remodeling of its already-reconstructed edifice. East Side Church of God, 2600 E. Fifth, now worships in at least its fourth sanctuary. Sherman Street Church of God and Edgewood Baptist both have expanded.
For others, growth or demographic changes have brought much more dramatic changes and new locations.
First Baptist Church, for instance, several years ago built a brand-new church building at 907 N. Raible Ave., relocating from its longtime near-downtown location at 14th and Lincoln streets.
The former North Anderson Church of God has moved twice. From its original Broadway location, the congregation built a new edifice on North Scatterfield Road. During the time it worshipped there, the church’s constituency mushroomed to the point another new sanctuary was needed. With expansion deemed not feasible at the Broadway location, the congregation relocated to 6607 Providence Drive, south of Interstate 69, where it now goes by Madison Park Church of God.
Park Place Church of God descends from Anderson’s original Church of God congregation at 14th and Brown streets. Its original Park Place location was at East Eighth and College Drive, moving to its present 501 College Drive site in 1960.
Irondale Church of God, originally on West 18th Street, relocated to Maple Grove on East 38th Street. The former Jackson Park Church of God, 2215 Nelle St., is now Main Street Church of God at 4211 S. Main. St. John’s Lutheran, originally near downtown on 14th Street, moved to 310 E. 53rd St. And Christ Lutheran, once on Main Street, is now at 2751 N. Scatterfield.
One church kept the name of its original location through three moves. East Lynn Christian moved to Jefferson Street, then relocated again to 522 E. 53rd St.
Numerous other moves, openings, closings, congregational mergers and longstanding congregational reflect a religious diversity in Anderson that continues to change with the multitude of needs and changes going on in the community.
Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.