702 W. 9th Street
Second Christian Church
Completed in 1911, the church at 702 W 9th Street was commissioned for the congregation of Second Christian Church. The cornerstone of the church was laid on May 1, 1910 during a ceremony in which several prominent members of the Indianapolis Christian Community spoke of the congregation and its history. The building was completed in 1911.
The congregation was established by the Women's Missionary Society of the Central Christian Church in 1866 as a mission and day school. The original church was constructed at the northeast corner of Lafayette and 11th Streets out of two army barracks that had been used during the Civil War. From its opening until 1869 the church provided an education for African American children who did not have access to schools. Following Indiana’s passage of a law providing a public education for all children, the church disbanded for a short time until it was revived in the early 1870s. At this time, services were held in a building on the corner of 15th and Illinois Streets. However, eventually the congregation built a church on the corner of 13th and Missouri Streets where they stayed until the completion of the building at 702 W 9th Street on the corner of 9th (Pratt Street at the time of construction) and Camp Streets. The building project was conducted under the direction of the pastor at the time, Rev. H. L. Herod.
The congregation of Second Christian Church eventually moved out of the church at 702 W 9th Street to the corner of 29th and Kenwood Streets.
Rev. H. L. Herod
Henry Louis Herod was born in Kentucky in 1875. By 1895, he had moved to Indianapolis and become the pastor of the Second Christian Church on the corner of 13th and Missouri Streets. Over the course of his career as pastor of Second Christian Church, Herod served as superintendent of Flanner House as well as president of the Negro National Convention of the Disciples of Christ. As president of the NNCDC, Herod was intended to be a delegate to the second world convention of the Disciples of Christ in Leichester, England when he died of a coronary occlusion due to chronic myocarditis at the age of 60. At the time of his death in 1935, he had served as pastor of the congregation of Second Christian Church for 40 years. His friend F.B. Ransom, general manager of the Madame C. J. Walker Company, gave his eulogy.
Greater Tried Stone Baptist Church
In 1948, the building was purchased by the Greater Tried Stone Baptist Church. The congregation was founded in 1923, with the first mention of Greater Tried Stone in Indianapolis Recorder occurring in 1933. The pastor at the time was Rev. W. T. Snead. Up until 1945, the congregation of Tried Stone Baptist Church was located at 532 Drake Street and had a succession of pastors including Rev. B. Cash, Rev. T. H. Bradley, and Dr. J. R. Plummer. However, in 1945, Rev. R. W. Vance became the pastor and facilitated the move to 702 W 9th Street in 1948.
Rev. R. W. Vance
Richard William Vance was born in Kentucky in 1905 to Louis and Carrie Vance. In 1934 he became pastor at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church where he stayed until taking over as pastor of the Greater Triedstone Baptist Church in 1945.
He married Geneva Ewing and they had at least two sons. One of their sons, Kirth Nolan Vance, would go on to succeed his father as pastor of Greater Tried Stone Baptist Church. According to an opinion piece written for the Indianapolis Recorder in 1978 by a member of the congregation, Rev. R. W. Vance was sick for a large portion of his time as pastor. About 8 years after the article was written, Rev. R. W. Vance died at Wishard Memorial Hospital and was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.
Rev. Kirth Nolan Vance
Following the death of his father, Rev. Kirth Nolan Vance took over as pastor of the Greater Tried Stone Baptist Church. He was born in 1932 and attended Crispus Attucks. As a young man, Kirth was an amateur boxer until his professional debut in 1958 and was often featured in the boxing section of the Indianapolis Recorder. At some point he even fought Muhammad Ali when he was still known as Cassius Clay, according to a 1997 article in the Indianapolis Recorder.
Kirth Vance served in the United States Armed Forces from 1953 to 1956 and was an Indianapolis police officer in the 1960s. In 1973, he became a member of Trinity Lodge No. 18. From 1967 to the time he took over as pastor, Kirth Vance was an assistant pastor to his father at the Greater Tried Stone Baptist Church. He continued as pastor into the 1990s. Rev. Kirth Vance died March 28, 2005 and was buried at Washington Park North Cemetery.
702 W 9th Street Today
According to an Indianapolis Star article, 702 W 9th Street was abandoned sometime in the 1990s and sat vacant for at least ten years. In 2007 it was due for court-ordered demolition until it was bought by Indiana Landmarks and stabilized. From there it was sold to a couple who converted it into a single-family home.
Written and edited by Hannah Ryker, March 6, 2020