No. 7--St. Paul Methodist Church
Of Lincoln's downtown churches, St. Paul Methodist is most completely downtown. At 12th and M. the tides of business and everyday life flow all about it. It has weathered into its place. a hospitable building where passersby are welcome. Paul has been a boon to Lincoln during a good many years, at periods when the city was short of meeting places and these periods have been frequent. St. Paul's is big, it is very conveniently located. At the price of a crushed rib (and admission) one has been able to hear many stirring performances--Paderewski and other famous musicians, addresses of the great.
The crushed rib should not, however, be charged against the Methodists. Their serious purpose in 1867 was to organize a church in the new city. They expected to fling their doors open principally for church comers, and, sadly, huge entrances are not necessary to take care of the average church congregation.
The first church was put up in 1868--the First Methodist Episcopal church of Lincoln. In 1883 a new structure was erected and the name changed to St. Paul Methodist. In 1899 this building burned and two years later the present structure was completed. Among attractive features of the church are its two great windows on the east and south.
Dr. Walter Aitken, who resigned in 1942, had been pastor of St. Paul church 22 years.
No. 8--County Courthouse
The photographer surprised us with this attractive picture of the Lancaster county courthouse, a testimonial to his art or our lack of perception. Our initial impression of the courthouse was gained from the third story of The Journal building in the days when it still wore a conventional round dome, on top of which was perched a sad cast-iron statue of Abraham Lincoln. Once a painter clambered up and gave the statue a coat of bright red paint. Protests poured in. It developed that the red was only preliminary to a more suitable bronze. But eventually dome and statue disappeared, with pleasing results.
In its 55 years the courthouse has seen drama. The most sensational trials held within its walls were during the tumultuous 90's--the John Sheedy, Irvine-Montgomery, George Washington Davis and Lillie cases. Sheedy was Lincoln's kingpin gambler of the 90's, a large handsome person who was found at his office with skull crushed. His beautiful young wife and a Negro, Monday MacFarland, were tried and acquitted. W. H. Irvine was tried for the fatal shooting of C. E. Montgomery, a Lincoln banker, and exonerated. Mrs. Lillie, found guilty of killing her husband at David City and later pardoned by Governor Mickey, here forced the Woodman company to pay her insurance for the death of the husband whom a jury had convicted her of killing,
George Washington Davis, a Negro, loosened part of the Rock Island track southeast of the penitentiary with the idea of notifying the company, and securing a job as a reward. He notified them too late. There was a train wreck and 12 were killed. Davis was convicted.
A later incident was the trial of iron-faced Frank Sharp, found guilty of the brutal hammer murder of his wife.
© 2000, 2001 by Kathie Harrison, Ted & Carole Miller