The 15th Annual Walking and Driving Tour of Historic Jeffersonian is going to be extra special this year.
The Self-Paced Tour will run from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on September 12 and will feature several historic places of worship in the community, many of which have practiced their faith locally for 150 years. During the tour, attendees can learn about the history of the congregations and their impact on Jefferson City during the bicentennial.
Here is an overview of the historical places that will be presented during the tour:
Central Church: 118 W. Ashley St.
The current church building was built in 1891 on the church footprint of 1859, using some of the original foundation stones. Builder and member Fred H. Binder also built St. Peter’s Catholic Church in 1883. Both buildings were designed in the Gothic style of North Germany. The organs have been an integral part of the services of the central church since the purchase of the instrument in 1860. Today, organist Shirley Klein continues to fill the sanctuary with music and will perform next week as part of the tour. .
First Christian Church: 327 E. Capitol Ave.
According to legend, the wife of Governor Thomas Crittenden (1881-85) demanded that the jackpot from a poker game involving her husband and other senior government officials be donated to First Christian Church for the purchase of a bell for his âpoor little Campbellite church. “, a term that indicates the church’s view that people should not be excluded from fellowship in the church because they do not adhere to a creed.
First Presbyterian Church: 324 Madison St.
In 1834, the Reverend Robert L. McAfee, 32, organized the first group of Presbyterians in Jefferson City. In 1841, Adamson Work and two Presbyterian theology students, James Burr and George Thompson, all of Quincy, Illinois, crossed the Mississippi River to help the slaves escape to Illinois, which was a free state. The three were captured and sentenced at the newly constructed Missouri State Penitentiary. While in prison, Thompson and Burr held church services and introduced Presbyterianism into the MSP. Bluegrass / gospel group Missing Pieces will perform at the First Presbyterian during the tour.
First United Methodist Church: 201 Monroe St.
Charles Opel, the architect of First United Methodist, was well known in Jefferson City. He had designed homes for prominent families including John Tweedie (whose home is still at 601 E. High St.) and Governor Lawrence Stephens (located at 500 Capitol Ave. and known as Ivy Terrace). Opel also designed buildings at Lincoln University and the First Baptist Church. His drawing for First United Methodist was published in a journal in June 1900 and printed in the Cole County Sketchbook, which came out later that year.
Grace Episcopal Church: 217 Adams St.
In 1876, a newspaper article reported a “ghostly phenomenon” at the old Grace Church, originally located on Madison Street facing west towards Madison House (the current Governor Hotel building) . Two teenage lovers sneaked into the sanctuary after services while people were outside. As they prepared to kiss, they saw a scene of the outside appear on the white interior wall, projecting the street outside and the people in it walking up and down. Upon investigation, they realized that a small amount of light passing through the keyhole in the door created a magic lantern effect with the images of the street reflecting off the opposite wall.
Church of the Immaculate Conception: 1206 E. McCarty St.
Shortly after the diocesan priest Mgr. Kaiser transferred to Immaculate Conception, parishioners James and Irene Stegemen adopted a son. They wanted to give something back to the church to show their appreciation, so Kaiser mentioned that a highway Christ statue similar to the one installed in 1957 at St. Patrick’s Church in Rolla might be nice to have in. their church as Highway 50 passed by. the church at the time. The Stegemens were in favor of the idea, so Kaiser ordered a virtually identical statue. Workers used a lifting platform to put the statue in place, and Kaiser blessed it in May 1961. Although Highway 50 no longer passes through the church, the statue remains.
AME Church of the Quinn Chapel: 415, rue Lafayette
In 1838, Violet Ramsey, born a slave, obtained her freedom for “reasons of benevolence and humanity”. Ramsey would go on to buy the freedom of her husband Elijah with two of her sons. But her shopping didn’t stop there: She’s recorded as buying land on Madison and Miller Streets and building a house where Quinn Chapel organized services. Violet and Elijah continued to purchase property, including farmland, which they passed on to their son, Harrison. Elijah Jr. transferred part of the property at 116 E. Miller St., including a log cabin, to the church. He later offered more land for a rectory. Lincoln University Police Chief Gary Hill will be at Quinn Chapel to present the success of the first year graduates of the university’s police academy.
Beth El Temple: 318 Monroe Street.
The temple was built in 1883 and is the oldest synagogue west of the Mississippi still in use. Originally built in red brick, it was eventually painted white. In 1939, during World War II, the congregation agreed to support a Jewish family fleeing Nazi persecution. This feat was all the more remarkable since at the time the Nazis had a stronghold over much of Europe, which made it very difficult for any Jewish people to flee. The Emanual Ladenheim family lived in Jefferson City for several years with their young son, Harry.
HCJ Executive Director Anne Green said that although typical visits are to homes, they are delighted that this year attendees can see churches in the area – places where they may not have been. never been except weddings or funerals. She added that there will be experts at each location to brief about the history of the spaces. There might be a few items or lore you’ve never heard of before.
âEach place has its own special stories, so we’re excited to share this with the community,â said Green.
Tickets are available at historiccityofjefferson.org as well as in Capital Arts, Carrie’s Hallmark Shop, Click2Sell4u, HyVee, J Street Vintage, Samuel’s Tuxedos and Gifts, Shaefer House, Shulte’s and ShopGirl. Advance tickets cost $ 15; daily tickets cost $ 18 and can be purchased at First Presbyterian Church. Free tram rides will be available.
The event will take place rain or shine. There are also other plans in the event of cancellation due to COVID-19: participants will hand in their tickets for a car tour booklet featuring the churches to take the tour on their own.
Historic Jefferson City Executive Director Anne Green contributed the history of each place of worship for this article.