Working to preserve historic architecture in La Porte, Indiana, since 1994.
1008 Michigan Avenue, La Porte, IN 46350
The former Christian Scientist Church building was purchased by P.E.P. to prevent its demolition.
The original core of 1008 Michigan Avenue was built in the early 1890's. The Sanborn Fire Insurance map from 1895 describes it as the "Parish House, Episcopal Church." In its earliest years, was used as a meeting house for church members to gather.
1008 Michigan Avenue was purchased by the Christian Scientists from the Unitarians in 1908. The Unitarians appear to have never formally occupied 1008 Michigan under their short ownership period, as no mention of Unitarian Church meetings appear in city directories from 1904 onward. The Unitarians sold their old church at 907 Michigan Avenue to the "Friends" Church in 1903, presumably with the intent to move into the just purchased 1008 Michigan Avenue. For unknown reasons, that never happened.
Christian Science services began in 1908, and the building was dubbed the "First Church of Christ Scientist" for the next 80 years until it was purchased back by St. Paul’s Episcopal in 1991.
In 1920, with the congregation flourishing, the building was significantly expanded, seating capacity was doubled, and exterior changes were made in the Colonial Revival style. Noted La Porte architect George Wood Allen is believed to have been the architect as there is an entry for a "Christian Science Church" in his personal list of blueprints.
The architectural changes included replacing beveled wood siding with composition siding, and the addition of architectural elements such as the front doors with fanlight above, the half-round window with keystone detail in the pediment, and the art glass windows throughout.
By 1991, membership had declined to less than 15. Formal dissolution occurred that year and the proceeds were donated to the Michigan City Christian Science Church. After 1991, St. Paul's leased out the building to various Churches and fellowships but periods of occupancy were short. Being vacant for several years and threatened with demotion, the building was purchased by P.E.P.