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Location DB > United States > Kansas > Topeka > Harrison Church
 Name
Harrison Church
 Viewing Options
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 Database Info
created by Esoterik on 5/20/2012 5:56 PM
last modified by Esoterik on 12/4/2013 10:49 PM
 Viewability
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
 Overview
 Description

 Basic Information
Type: Building
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: - select -
Recommendation: check it out if you're nearby
 Physical Information
Address
15th & Harrison
Topeka, Kansas
United States
Owner:
 Hazards
  • unsafe flooring
  • air quality
  •  Interesting Features
    Bowl-shaped floor in chapel

    Update: it burned down in October
     Security Measures
  • wooden boarding
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 0
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  •  Recommended Equipment

     History
    http://www.strange...ation.aspx?id=3780

    "This church is one of the most haunted places in Kansas. This church was a normal church until one day possessed by the Devil and is now abandoned. People say they hear screams and a little girl crying. Do not go there unless you are wanting a fright."

    http://www.theharrisonchurch.com/

    The Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church At Sixteenth and Harrison

    The Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church building on Sixteenth and Harrison, had its beginnings in Topeka, Kansas in the Spring of 1886. Back then, the area where the church now stands was known as Walnut Grove. This area, which marked the southern boundaries of the city of Topeka, was separated from the downtown area by the Douthitt Farmstead, only dirt roads connected the area to the downtown. There was no electricity, sewers, sidewalks or street cars. There were boardwalks, which the youngsters used to pole around the neighborhoods like rafts during the periodical overflows of the Shunganunga Creek. It was a territory populated by nearly 500 people--mostly children. Residents Edmund S. Thorpe, his wife Laura E. Thorpe (whose journal labeled "Topeka Kansas--1923 May" is part of a collection housed in the Indiana Historical Society archives), and "Brother Burge" were much disturbed by the wild and undisciplined children of the neighborhood. Since there was no church in the area, these early residents petitioned the First Methodist Church to allow them to establish a mission in the old Van Buren School building and were given permission in Spring of 1886. On April 4, 1887, the mission built it's own church on the corner of 18th and Harrison, this church, which cost $8,000 to build, was later moved to higher ground at the corner of Sixteenth and Harrison in 1903 to escape the flooding of the Shunganunga - At this time, the church had 600 members.

    By 1914, it had become apparent that the growing group of Methodists needed a larger building. The building contract was expected to be made in the fall of 1915, but was interrupted by World War I and the high cost of materials. The church put their money in the bank at 6% interest and waited for better times. In June of 1919, the church collaborated with renown general contractor Cuthbert & Sons for the construction of the new building designed by architect J. C. Holland. J. C. Holland is credited for much of the public architecture of Kansas, especially in the Capital City. In his day, he was one of only 8 architects living outside of the city of New York to actually be given membership in the very prestigious New York Society of Architects. The church is unusual in its design in that it has no steeple, the roof, however, has the traditional cross outline of earlier church buildings. The main auditorium or sanctuary was extremely unusual in that the pulpit was placed in the exact corner so that there would be no one in the audience out of eyesight or earshot of the speaker. The pews were rounded and spread in a semi-circle around the speaker. The sanctuary sported a bowl-type floor. The exterior included many symbols such as a maltese cross, stone fountains, crosses and (extremely unusual) numerous upside-down crosses. The old Walnut Grove building was dismantled and many of its parts were used in the construction of the new building - Some of the floor timbers in the new building still have shingle material on them from their former use as part of the old building's roof. The old basement of the previous building is incorporated into the new church as well. Since it's inception, the Walnut Grove Methodist Episcopal Church had been designed to aid in the betterment of its community. The design of the new building shows that this continued to be their desire. The church was designed not only as a church, but also as a community center. A large auditorium or gymnasium was built in the basement of the church to serve as an area for athletic events, public meetings and wedding luncheons. Perhaps the most prominent feature of the building was its ninety beautiful, stained-glass windows. The windows depict scenes from the Holy bible. Most of the windows were donated by prominent community members and many were dedicated to others. The church became known throughout the city and state as the "Church of the Beautiful Windows." During construction, a historical time capsule was placed in a box in the cornerstone. The new building was completed in 1920 and a dedicatory service was held on December 5th.

    The Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church was a active presence in the community. Many athletic events were held in the basement gymnasium, which included both women's and men's showers. An annual music extravaganza, first organized in the Walnut Grove building in 1910 by J. H. Booth, drew the most talented musicians from all over the state of Kansas. This musical event continued to be a cherished part of Topekan culture, filling the building in December with so many people that there was standing room only, even after J. H. Booth retired in 1935, these musicals continued to bless the community. The church sponsored Girl Scouts, Brownies, Boy Scouts and Cubs, Volley Ball teams (both men's and women's), basketball teams and some very successful softball teams. Many beautiful trophies were won by the teams. They also offered a bible class that could be taken for credit at the High School. It was a three year course with semester examinations. A letter of thanks was written to the teacher of the class, Mrs. Hammel, in 1933, from Mrs. C. F. Menniger, mother of Dr's. Will and Karl Menninger. The church's benevolences blessed hospitals, homes for the aged, colleges, Deaconesses, Orphan's Homes, Temperance, Nurses, Theological Schools, Methodist Book Concern, United Methodist Bishops, etc. At one time, Rev. Ellsworth brought Coach Dick Harp, Kansas University coach and several members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to Trinity Methodist Church. The K.U. Athletes took over the Sunday School classes in the youth departments and then conducted the church service with Coach Dick Harp preaching.

    The church also sponsored several missionaries. These missionaries took the gospel and the name of their beloved Topeka to such far away places as China, Egypt and the Philippines.

    In 1939, September 24, the name officially changed to Trinity Methodist Church. This was an historical time of the merger of three branches of the Methodist Church: Methodist Church South, Protestant Methodist Church and Methodist Episcopal Churches of America into one branch. The Methodist Episcopal Church was the parent church, having its roots in the organization at Baltimore in 1784, and many other branches were break offs of this church. Methodist Episcopal Church is no longer used as a name since it was merged with the other branches. The fact that a granite marker on the corner of the building on Sixteenth and Harrison still reads "Trinity M.E. Church 1888-1919", shows it's religious historical significance.

    The members moved in the 60's, selling the building to others whose building had been destroyed by the 1966 tornado. The building then became known as the Lane Chapel. When membership declined in the 1990's, the Lane Chapel ended up selling the stained-glass windows, many of which had been damaged by local vandals, to the McPherson wrecking company. Many have been lovingly restored. They have been stored in a warehouse in Perry, Kansas for nearly 15 years, waiting for the day they can be restored to the building. When Lane Chapel members moved to their present location, a smaller building located on 1200 SW Lane, the building on Sixteenth and Harrison was left abandoned. Over the next few years it was stripped by vandals and became a shell of its former elegance. Fine wood paneling and some of the flooring and staircase banisters vanished. The pipes for the Reuter organ installed in 1922 were salvaged for metal. A leaking roof destroyed the beautiful balloon ceilings and the wooden gym floor in the basement. By the time Mr. John Levin purchased the building at a city auction, it had become a favorite haunt of the homeless and derelict and was listed on an international ghost hunters website as one of the "most haunted places in Kansas". Mr. Levin repaired the roof at a cost of $15,000 and it no longer leaks. In 2003, Drew and Elitia Burkey purchased the property under contract from Mr. Levin. They used it as a residence and researched grants that would restore the stained-glass windows, re-point the exterior and replace boarded up entries with doors. The interior is still quite solid, though it has suffered extensive cosmetic damage. The Burkey's gradually removed the damaged lathe and plaster to expose the rustic elegance of the building's skeleton. The entire building is supported by enormous steel beams and trusses. The rough cut wooden beams, many from the original Walnut Grove building, still bear the marks of the saw mill that shaped them over 100 years ago. In the summer of 2007, after the relocation of the Burkey family Kathleen Pond and Andrea Bellucci of Long Island, New York purchased the property from the Burkey's, and plan on continuing the restoration of The Harrison Church to its former self.

    Since the most recent purchase in 2007 the Church has under gone new tentants, has been featured on the A&E Show Paranormal State and from time to time the owners allow local groups to enter the building and perform investigations. Although the current owners are still passionate in their beliefs about the potential of such an architecturally beautiful and sound building the long distance has proven to be a little hard to oversee continued restoration and security with that said they have made the difficult decision to put the Church up For Sale.

    For those of you that have been to the site before we have since removed the section listing the contents within the time capsule - This was done to keep the future opening and reveal momentous.

     Media Coverage
    google "Harrison chruch Topeka" and you'll get a ton of hits from ghost - hunting sites. Was featured on some paranormal show.
     Future Plans
    None - it's gone.
     Stories


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    Harrison Church
    Sun, May 20th, 2012
    posted by Esoterik
    20 pictures
     


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    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

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     Validation
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Steed on 6/25/2014 10:26 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jun 25 14 at 10:26, Steed validated this location
  • on Feb 3 14 at 5:19, Esoterik created a new gallery
  • on Dec 4 13 at 22:49, Esoterik changed the following: Status, Accessibility
  • on Dec 4 13 at 22:45, Esoterik changed the following: Interesting Features, Future Plans
  • on Dec 4 13 at 22:44, Esoterik made this location public
  • on May 21 12 at 17:51, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on May 21 12 at 7:13, TexasMike changed the following: Province / State (please use full name)
  • on May 20 12 at 18:11, Esoterik made this location available
  • on May 20 12 at 18:11, Esoterik updated gallery Harrison Church
  • on May 20 12 at 18:10, Esoterik updated gallery picture HCu.jpg
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