Abandoned and Burned.

Today in Topeka this 94 year old church building burned until it was mostly gutted leaving only its brick & stone shell. The original name of the church was Trinity Methodist Episcopal church in 1919. Later it would be known as “Church of the beautiful windows”, “The Harrison Church, “Lane Chapel”, and “Walnut Grove Church”.

The building was home to 2 church bodies, the original congregation from 1919 until 1966, it was then sold to Lane Chapel following the 66 Tornado who occupied it until the 1990’s who moved into a smaller structure when attendance declined. It sat abandoned until long time Topeka business man, John Levin, purchased it for $5,000 in back taxes to the City. He repaired the roof and eventually sold it on contract. No other major repairs or work was ever done.

If you want a more detailed history, click here.

Following the fire, the city deemed it a serious danger and started demolition work asap.

Also interesting, in 2009 A&E had the church featured in its show “Paranormal State” as many thought the old church was haunted.


I did not mention it here on the initial post, however, I thought I should add this. In researching my information for this post I learned there was a time capsule in the cornerstone of the building. I alerted local media outlets out of a desire to ensure the contents were not lost. WIBW 13 interviewed me, however, I knew only what I had gathered through a few internet searches and the PDF history file attached above. (Click Here for the TV coverage)

If I hear about the fate of the cornerstone in the future, I will post another update!


Here is the building following the fire this morning (Photo by Phil Anderson, Topeka Capital Journal)

by: Phil Anderson, Topeka Capital Journal

by: Phil Anderson, Topeka Capital Journal

Here are a few images I shot tonight. I did not expect the exterior structure to be torn down so quickly, I should have made it a priority to get my shots earlier in the day.

Nikon D7000 -- Tamron 28-75 @ 28mm -- f/4 -- 1/160s -- ISO 640 -- No Flash

Nikon D7000 — Tamron 28-75 @ 28mm — f/4 — 1/160s — ISO 640 — No Flash


  1. shawn

    I have such a love for old architecture/buildings. I hate to see one destroyed like this. If i could restore them all i would.
    (FYI, a friend sent me photos of the blaze. Pretty incredible. I will show them to you this weekend.)

  2. Donna Rae Pearson

    Greetings Wyatt,

    I am the Local History Librarian at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. If you are looking for a home for the contents of the cornerstone I would like to take a look at them.

    1. Wyatt (Post author)

      Donna, I hope that this could be preserved in such a manner. Other than being the guy who mentioned it to the media, I have no real input into the matter. I brought it up just so it would be saved. I think you have a great outlet for those items!

      1. Donna Rae Pearson

        Thanks for the vote of confidence! So do you know who has possession?


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