Scottish Rite – the former First Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Originally posted 2/1/2010

First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, now the Scottish Rite, at the corner of Chestnut and 2nd circa 1910
First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, now the Scottish Rite, at the corner of Chestnut and 2nd circa 1910

I always thought the Scottish Rite was an eccentric building.  We had school dances there including my senior prom.  When I was doing research I discovered the old First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, sometimes called Chestnut St Church, at that same location.  I started looking into it and found out that that church and the Scottish Rite are one in the same and you can still see details of the old building if you look closely.

First Cumberland Presbyterian, built in 1876 to replace the old church across the street, was a beautiful church (shown at left around the turn of the century) that dominated the skyline with its massive towers.  It prospered for many years at this corner until the Cumberland Presbyterian church merged back with the Presbyterian church.  The congregation joined with Grace Presbyterian in 1909 and moved into their church at 2nd and Mulberry in an equally splendid building.  The vacated church was then sold to the Masons and used as a Shriners Temple / Masonic Lodge

We are still looking for the specific deatils but sometime in the 1960s or 70s the corner tower was removed and the front addition was built completely changing the street presence of the building.  A current view of the Scottish Rite from the side (along 2nd St) and from the rear really give you a feel of the magnitude and scale of the original church.

Scottish Rite today from a similar angle
Scottish Rite today from a similar angle

First Cumberland Presbyterian on HistoricEvansville.com
http://historicevansville.com/site.php?id=cumberlandpresby