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Central Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, Indianapolis, IN

December 8, 2016

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As membership in mainstream Protestant churches declines, large A-A buildings — and even larger “institutional” churches — are vulnerable. Fortunately, if they’ve stayed in good repair and the roof is tight, their acoustics invite adaptive use for any number of secular purposes. Central Avenue M.E. (later Central Avenue UMC) was once the largest Methodist congregation in the state of Indiana. But suburban flight and inner-city blight put this congregation out of business. The Indiana Landmarks foundation stepped in and adapted the building as its statewide headquarters and (for income) as a venue for rent. I’ve not seen a plan but the auditorium and Sunday School may not have been directly connected. If so, this would have been an F-1.

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The Sunday School retains much of its original character and works well for performance.

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The building was constructed in three campaigns, beginning in 1891. Williams & Otter of Dayton, OH, were the architects. Here is an example of their residential design from about the same time period:

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