Salem Evangelical

Salem Evangelical 1934 when it still had a tower
Salem Evangelical as it looked when the church still had a tower

Salem Evangelical dates back to 1844 when a mission was begun, but it was officially established in 1853.  The German Evangelical congregation procured a lot at the corner of 8th and Division St and built a church which was dedicated April 2, 1854.

In 1873 the church was remodeled into the form seen above.  It has remained largely untouched ever since.

Salem Evangelical from the 1888 map (marked "E")
Salem Evangelical from the 1888 map (marked “E”).  The building marked “S7” is Old Central

In 1923 a Sunday school hall was built in the rear of church along 8th St replacing an old school/rectory.

Addition shorly after completion
Sunday school addition shortly after completion

In 1946 the church becomes First Evangelical United Brethren church after merger between Evangelical and United Brethren churches. As the church became surrounded by factories downtown, it was decided to move the church to Sherman St and Van Dusen Ave on the near North side.  Ground breaking at the new church was in 1958, and the church moved soon after. In 1959 Central General Baptist Church occupies the old church.

Salem Evangelical being renovated
Salem Evangelical being renovated

Central General Baptist held its final service in August 1977, ending the building’s run as a church.  A physician bought it next and later around 1980 the River City Eagles Club made Salem its home for several years.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles moved ca. 2009 to Franklin St in the old Hook’s Drugstore building.  The building was then being remodeled into apartments, but that never materialized.  For the past few years the old church has found new life as the home of the Vanderburgh County CASA.

Detail over entry.  Roughly translated "SALEM CHURCH OF THE EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY  BUILT 1853 REBUILT 1873 "
Detail over entry. Roughly translated “SALEM CHURCH OF THE EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY BUILT 1853 REBUILT 1873 “


Salem Evangelical on –


Press Releas

On Tuesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m., Evansville Museum Curator of History and Vanderburgh County Historical Society Board Member Thomas Lonnberg will give the PowerPoint program Welcome Traveler. In his PowerPoint program presented in the Museum’s new Koch Immersive Theater, Lonnberg will share information and images recalling establishments that served visitors to our City from the early 19th century through the mid 20th century. The presentation will focus on well-known hotels such as the Vendome and McCurdy and will also recall lesser-known establishments that served the community in the days when riverboats lined the city’s wharf and passenger trains frequented Evansville.

Lonnberg has served as the Evansville Museum’s curator of history for 26 years. In that time, he has curated over 100 exhibitions many of which have focused on the history of Evansville. He is on the boards of the Vanderburgh County Historical Society and the Corridor of Champions.

As seating is limited to 68, reservations are required. Please call 812-425-2406
for complimentary reservations.  This program is presented by the Evansville Museum and the Vanderburgh County Historical Society.