Steeple gone; skyline changes

Phil Alban captured this shot of the St. Paul steeple being lowered from the church building on Thursday afternoon, May 2, 2013.

Phil Alban captured this shot of the St. Paul steeple being removed from the church building on Thursday afternoon, May 2, 2013.

Kevin Nicholson lowering steeple to ground

Kevin Nicholson sent this shot to WNLP, showing the majestic steeple being lowered to the ground.

(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE)

You might not think a town the size of LaPorte has a skyline, but it does. The next time you drive in from East Lincolnway, take note of the buildings you see. The courthouse is the most prominent — but another, equally as visible, was the steeple of St. Paul United Church of Christ.

As of Thursday afternoon, May 2, 2013, that steeple was gone.

It stood just in front of IU LaPorte Hospital in the heart of downtown LaPorte. The rest of the extraordinarily tall church structure is scheduled to be demolished soon. Many items within the church were recently auctioned off and the stained glass windows were removed and purchased.

Perhaps to the surprise of many, the hospital has not purchased the church property. Rumor has it that the site is desirable for a coffee shop or similar retail business.

While the community waits to see what develops, here are some photos provided to WNLP by community members. We thank them all for preserving local history and evolution.

Mike Kellems took this photo of the steeple being prepared for removal --

Mike Kellems took this photo of the steeple being prepared for removal — a first crane brought on site was reportedly unable to lift the steeple, so another was brought in. 

062

Two cranes cross as they work to remove the cross. Photo by Mike Kellems

Mike 1

Stained glass windows removed, the church stands ready to be demolished. Photo by Mike Kellems

13 Responses to “Steeple gone; skyline changes”

  1. Jeffrey Holtz

    May 02. 2013

    My father was baptized at this church and the Holtz family attended often in the early 1900’s. The church’s removal is part of the physical world but my father’s heavenly presence only confirms its Godly presence. The town of LaPorte will remain as the roots of his presence.

    Reply to this comment
    • ralph(buz) holtz

      May 04. 2013

      Father of 12. What a wonderful family! Just a shame to see another landmark disappear in such a great little city. We as a family won’t forget!

      Reply to this comment
      • Jeffrey Holtz

        May 18. 2013

        This is what I wrote in my father’s biography regarding the church…”Ralph Henry Holtz was born the second son and third child of Karl Johann Adolph (Charlie) and Elizabeth Cora (Lizzy) (Gillham) Holtz. He would be baptized by Hans Zumstein, the pastor of St. Paul’s German Evangelical church in LaPorte shortly after his birth into the German Lutheran rites and traditions of his German ancestry.”

        Reply to this comment
  2. David Long

    May 03. 2013

    La Porte’s skyline has so changed over the years that there aren’t many landmarks left except for the Courthouse. It’s very sad…just poor planning.

    Reply to this comment
  3. chris

    May 03. 2013

    This was my family’s church and it saddens me to see that this is happening. A lot of family history in this church and now there will be nothing left but memories. I never saw or heard if there was anyway to obtain a piece of the church. If there is info available would love to know.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Dawna

    May 03. 2013

    I was at the post office yesterday and a bunch of people were standing just inside watching and talking about what they plan on doing with the property. Does anyone know for sure who or what is being built in place of the church?

    Reply to this comment
  5. Lori

    May 03. 2013

    Sad……….

    Reply to this comment
  6. Sharon

    May 03. 2013

    We all hate to see the beautiful old structures that comprise the downtown be demolished. However, there’s a very limited number of individuals able to put the immense amount of money into them that’s necessary for restoration and to make them useful. Yes, it’s hard to say good-bye to the lovely old buildings and they will be missed.

    Reply to this comment
  7. nancy

    May 03. 2013

    if thy hadn’t applied for a permit to demolish it as of april 10th how are they doing it…i believe one of your own articles said it took 30-60 days to get the permit…somethings fishy!!

    Reply to this comment
  8. CJ

    May 04. 2013

    A part of LP history is gone. This is truly sad. Someone should have stepped in to save one of the city’s oldest buildings. People Engaged in Preservation (PEP), the LP Historical Society, the
    Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city, SOMEONE! How many buildings built in 1890 or before are left? Maybe someday pictures of the church will show up in someone’s back room and a movie will be made about it.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Debbie

    May 04. 2013

    I’m so sorry to see this go. My mom & dad were married there in the parsonage June 2, 1956. I was baptized and took my first communion there. Many good memories.

    Reply to this comment
  10. gobnaitx

    May 06. 2013

    CJ, I’m sure your check would have made all the difference. Until then, it doesn’t do a lot of good to wring your hands over an imagined angel willing to dump over $1 million into a building that has no functional use or feasible development plan. Surely those organizations you name have very limited resources and can try to identify uses or investors, but failing that, the reality must be accepted that some buildings cannot be saved.

    With a dispersed congregation and no reasonable options for development, this poor church has met the end of its life. Celebrate its memories and hope that what replaces it does so appropriately and with grace. Insist that it be developed smartly, and support the result financially. An attractive and successful business will mean as much if not more to the community than the memories left by a now-shuttered and decaying church building.

    Reply to this comment
  11. CJ

    May 06. 2013

    You are right gobnaitx, it’s easy to sit back and point fingers.  I could have been going door to door asking for donations, petitions, etc.  I could have been approaching those organizations I mentioned.  But I wasn’t.  So I guess the finger points at me, too.

    It’s just sad that America sees no value in preservation.  We are a tear down/build new culture.  Maybe a shiny new Starbucks, McDonald’s or whatever will be good for the local economy.    I still maintain that the cost is greater than the gain.  What will be left for our great great grandchildren?

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply