Tyson Temple Methodist Church in Versailles to be rededicated

On Sunday, May 20, at 10:30 a.m. the Tyson Temple United Methodist Church in Versailles will celebrate its 70th Anniversary with a rededication ceremony. Reverend James Byerly of the Tyson United Methodist Church wishes to extend an invitation to the public to attend this very special celebration, and to honor, once again, James H. Tyson, co-founder of the Walgreen’s Drug Store, for his endowment to the community.

Reverend David V.W. Owen, assistant to the Bishop of the Indiana Area United Methodist Church, will preside over the ceremony and deliver a message during worship service. Following morning services, a pitch-in dinner will be served in the Fellowship Hall. After dinner, there will be a Power Point presentation and a time for folks to share their memories of the church. Anyone wishing to share a special memory or pictures, please submit them to the church office by May 14.

On Sunday, May 16, 1937, the Tyson Temple Methodist Church at Versailles, erected through the munificence of James H. Tyson of Chicago and former Versailles resident, was dedicated “to the Glory of God” and to the memory of the donor’s mother, Eliza Adams Tyson. Mr. Tyson and members of his family were present and he became the first member of the new church. He had been a member of the Methodist church at Chicago and transferred his membership to Versailles. The ceremony, in which he reaffirmed his faith, was in the charge of pastor, Reverend John T. Redmon. Mr. Tyson was baptized at Versailles on September 6, 1868.

A distinctive feature of the church is its aluminum spire, 65 feet in height. The polished aluminum cross at the top of the spire is approximately 100 feet from the ground. In 1937, the copper roof was the second of its kind in the nation.

The ceiling of the sanctuary represents the blue of a cloudless sky. The stars are so placed as to represent the sky as it appeared the night of his mother’s death. The bell and the pulpit of the old church were utilized, although the pulpit was refinished. The pews, made in Batesville, were built of Ripley County timber.

Wood was eliminated and not a single nail was used in the construction, except for in the furnishings. The materials used include concrete, terra cotta brick, and glazed and glass brick.

This great gift was the first of many community projects funded by Mr. Tyson. Other early projects were the water and sewer systems for Versailles and the erection of Tyson Library and Tyson School and Auditorium.

The generosity of James H. Tyson is celebrated each year on September 14, Mr. Tyson’s birthday. The citizens of Versailles gather for a birthday party in his honor and vote on which of the submitted project for the year should receive funding from the Tyson Foundation. The event is open to the entire community.