The History of St. Paul’s

While traveling the Ohio River on canoe and horseback, Bishop Jackson Kemper, an Episcopal missionary, established St. Paul’s church in 1836. The present church building was consecrated fifty years later. Designed for beauty and permanence, the church is constructed of Indiana limestone. Much like our faith, the building lies in the form of a cross, and its tower and spire – trademarks of the building’s Gothic style – rise 124 feet heavenward. A chapel was built in 1881, and in 1956 a two-story multi-purpose parish hall was completed. An existing rectory was later renovated for use as a Church House with offices and meeting rooms. All buildings are now interconnected.

In 1937, “The Flood” of the Ohio River changed the lives of many Evansville citizens.  Despite extensive water damage to the church building, our members reached out to the community with comfort and supplies to assist many afflicted families. The spirit of outreach continued with servicemen in neighboring Kentucky during World War II and lives today in ministries such as our weekly soup kitchen.

A fire in 1938 left the outer walls of limestone undamaged but destroyed the inner building. The church was rededicated within a year. Numerous restorations and renovations have occurred as St. Paul’s continues to adapt with parishioner growth and ministry direction, and these changes will continue as God provides us with people who choose to use their many gifts and talents for His glory.

The Archive Committee

The Archive Committee, which was formed in 2004, has continued to preserve the records and history of St. Paul’s. We now have over 1300 items recorded, catalogued and loaded into the computer, with hard copies stored in archival boxes.  This information is available to all on request.  Bonnie Holtz and Nancy Keeney have joined with us and are working on oral histories from long-time St. Paul’s members.

We have photographed, recorded, and documented the Memorials and Gifts given to the church and have placed them in a book for easy access and have updated the Memorials and Gifts book.   The Memorials & Gifts Ministry graciously donated the funds to acquire a new computer and printer so that our records can be kept up to date.

We have photographed and recorded the Capital Campaign projects: the painting and re-carpeting of Viele Chapel, the step by step process of the handicap accessible ramp into the Sanctuary, and the remodeling of the Sacristy in the old choir room.

We have gone through the Epistles and Annual Reports from 1987-2009 and have taken notes to continue the history of St. Paul’s from the point in which Dorothy Whitehead’s book, ”The First 150 Years of St. Paul’s,” left off.  We will begin compiling this information in the New Year.

Interesting “tidbits” from the Past