St. Mark’s United Church of Christ reflects New Albany’s European immigrant heritage and the destruction caused by the devastating flood of 1937. During the early nineteenth century, political upheaval in what is now Germany led to massive emigration. By the mid-1830s, a sizeable German immigrant population lived in Floyd County, Indiana. Isolated linguistically from English speakers, German Protestants decided to form their own church. On October 23, 1837, Reverend Henry Evers organized Lutheran, Evangelical, and Reformed Christian German immigrants into an independent congregation. The church met in a school on State Street in New Albany before moving to the Court House. In 1842, the congregation purchased a lot on State Street and constructed a brick church by 1843.
The congregation continued to grow, leading the members to purchase the former structure of the St. Paul Episcopal Church on Spring Street in 1863. By 1869, the congregation needed more space and purchased two lots on East Spring Street. In 1870, the congregation moved into a new Gothic Revival building. The church stood on the same lot as the current church structure.
Natural disaster struck New Albany with the flood of January and February 1937. Throughout the Ohio River Valley, communities experienced mass flooding as a result of heavy rainfall. At one point, about twenty inches of water filled the German Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church building. The pastor’s family had to be evacuated by boat. The homes of about 100 members of the congregation also suffered damage.
In January 1957, the church demolished its existing building to make way for a larger structure. The congregation erected a modern building designed by Howard Wagoner Architects of Philadelphia. It also changed its name to St. Mark’s United Church of Christ. Today, the church is an important reminder of the historical influence of Germans in New Albany.