Art Deco Tyson Temple Church in Versailles

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Art Deco Tyson Temple Church in Versailles

Tyson Temple Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana

Tyson Temple Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana Exterior

The Tyson Temple United Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana commands attention.

This Ripley County church is an amazing architectural feat and a lovely Art Deco example!

Tyson Temple United Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana

Tyson Temple Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana

Tyson Temple Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana Doors


We couldn’t have picked a better day for toodling around Ripley County. Blue skies, the occasional white puffy cloud, and plenty of sun formed the perfect backdrop to this elegant Indiana church.

The Tyson Temple United Methodist Church is just amazing. With so much detail and thoughtfulness, I would find it hard to believe that there are others out there like this–or in such immaculate shape.

Built in 1937 by James “Uncle Jim” Tyson, the church was constructed using concrete, steel, stone, terra cotta, brick, and even glazed and glass brick.

For those of you biblically well-versed, the sound of hammers banging was strangely absent in the construction of the Tyson Church–just as in the building of Israel’s Tabernacle. No nails were used–it is absent of wood except in the furnishings.

A Boy’s Best Friend is His Mother

Tyson Temple Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana

Tyson Temple Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana Exterior


As the mom of two boys, I love to taunt hubby with that famous quote from Hitchcock’s Psycho, “A Boy’s Best Friend is His Mother,” this amazing church was dedicated to Jim’s mother.

Inside the sanctuary, we’ve heard that the ceiling is the same blue as a cloudless sky and dotted with stars to mimic the constellations. The same constellations seen on the night his mother died. Isn’t that touching?

Not just a neat historical stop, this church is an ever-lasting  tribute and is still in service to the folks of this small Indiana town today.

Go There

Imports abound from around the world: terra cota from Italy, the gold leaf on the choir loft dome and the silver leaf on the pillars are from Germany. No detail was overlooked. Yet–the pews from Ripley County prove that there’s no place like home.

It is a building of curves and roundness and downright beauty. Don’t believe me? Just look up. That’s an inverted cone, open work cast aluminum spire–the spire was one of only two in the country at the time of its construction.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

Just don’t forget to tell ’em that  little Indiana sent you!

Tyson Temple United Methodist Church
324 West Tyson Street
Versailles, Indiana 47042
812.689.6976

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About the Author:

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little Indiana.com. More than a website, Little Indiana is a book, "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" (IU Press) awarded first place in the "Best in Indiana Journalism for a Nonfiction Book" by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Little Indiana is also a bi-monthly newspaper column in a local paper and a PBS segment on the former Emmy award-winning program, "The Weekly Special."

3 Comments

  1. Jessica Nunemaker December 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Ha ha! Yeah, there IS more than corn and basketball in Indiana. 😉 Just to make sure you catch it, there is a library and school on the same block in the same style. Very sharp.

  2. John December 12, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Nice. I hope to see this the next time I’m in SE Indiana. My trips to Versailles over the years were usually just “through it” on my way to somewhere else. I guess the “somewhere else” will have to wait awhile now.

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