The first Universalist Church in Tennessee
was in Harriman, services began in 1895
by W. H. McGlauflin of Harriman.

drawing of Grace Universalist Church, Harriman, in Onward 1900

Grace Universalist, Harriman photo

Harriman churches, including the Universalist

This is all that's left of it (ttbomk):
cornestone of Grace Universalist Church, Harriman, Tennessee

Grace Universalist Church,
Harriman, Tennessee

4-story octagonal tower right-of-center,
double arch entrance,
3 stories, set back from road at least 100 feet.

These are pictures of a previously
unknown Universalist Church

included in a new (2014) book of
rare photographs of Chattanooga.

Universalist Church - where?

Universalist Church front - 2

The pastor's name is on the sign:
L. R. Robinson, who served as
pastor of the Universalist Church
of Chattanooga 1908-1917 before the still-standing
Shinn Memorial Universalist Church was built.

- Could this church have been built in Chattanooga
by some other denomination,then rented out
to the Universalists from 1908 until their
new church was completed in 1917 ?

Find out: where did Chattanooga Universalists
meet prior to their 1917 church on Main Street?

Answer: according to city directories, from 1912-1916
the Universalist Church used the former site of the
Walnut Street Christian Church on 709-711
Walnut Street
(current site of Kindred Hospital).
One old photograph of that church exists:

the old Walnut Street Christian Church, congregation built a new church, moved, rented this building to the Universalists
remove the steeple, truncate the front steps
... voilá! - the mystery Universalist Church.

Universalist Church - 3

These 3 photos are from:
Chattanooga In Photos Around the Turn of the Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection 2014 edited by John Wilson,
Chattanooga In Photos
Around the Turn of the Century [1885-1915]:
The Remarkable Stokes Collection
edited by
John Wilson, 2014

The problem was:
this Universalist Church does not resemble
the one at Harriman or at Chattanooga,
both served by L. R. Robinson.

description of (the previously)
unknown Universalist Church:

brick & stone,
3-story square tower left-of-center,
triple lancet arch entrance,
large gothic arch stained-glass window
with a circle in the middle, containing
2 interlocking flattened ovals forming a cross,
2 stories, set back from road less than 10 feet.

Preaching Service
11 A.M. & 7.30 P.M.
Sunday School
10 A.M.

L. R. Robinson employment timeline:
1908-17 Harriman TN - Grace Universalist Church
1908-17 Chattanooga TN - First Universalist Church
         - Shinn Memorial
1920, -22 Mid-West Superintendent
         St Paul & Rochester MN
1924-30 Racine WI - Good Shepherd Universalist Church:
Church of the Good Shepherd - Universalist, Racine, Wisconsin

Universalist Church - where?

When i first saw a snapshot of the church photo, i presumed that the book's editor mistook the name of the building, and that the building was actually that of the 1889-1937 Unitarian Society of Chattanooga / All Souls (Unitarian) Church -- of which we have no picture, just the cornerstone -- from its location at 654 Houston Street, near present-day Memorial Auditorium, now resting in the flowerbed of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga:
First Unitarian Society - All Souls Unitarian Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Then i saw the close-up photo of the
sign board at the church entrance ...
yes, Universalist, ...
and yes, L.R. Robinson, ...
and became, and remain, mystified.

for a couple days.

(btw, am also searching for a photo of the
Unitarian Society/Church of Chattanooga.)

the first Universalist Church
organized in 1907

the first Universalist Church of Chattanooga, previously the Walnut Street Christian Church

from 1912-1916 they rented 709, 711 Walnut Street,
site of the 1886-1907 Walnut Street Christian Church

in 1917 the Universalists dedicated
their own newly-built church:
First Universalist Church of Chattanooga 1917

First Universalist Church of Chattanooga est.1917

now 'Second Baptist Church',
1619 East Main Street [15th Street]

the common element among all 3 churches:
L.R. Robinson = Luther Riley Robinson of Kentucky, formerly of the Methodist church (1907),
began his Universalist ministry in Harriman
(fellowshipped with the Universalist
General Convention in 1908),
then also in Chattanooga 1908-1917

L. R. Robinson, Universalist minister of Chattanooga

The Universalist Church in Chattanooga was organized in 1907 by the Rev. Dr. Quillen H. Shinn, the Southern missionary, of the denomination.
The church began with thirty-two charter members.
In November, 1908, the present pastor, Rev. L. R. Robinson, whose picture appears above, accepted the call of the church, becoming the first pastor.
Dr. Robinson, as his picture indicates, is a young man, and all who know him testify to his enthusiasm and his ability to bring things to pass. He has the "courage of his convictions" on all the foremost topics of the day, and is fearless in presenting them. He is invariably on the side of the right, regardless of consequences, and is recognized as one of Chattanooga's gifted men in extemporaneous debate.
He has, now, served his church in Chattanooga over seven years, entering on his eighth year November 1.
He is popular with the members of his denomination, and counts his friends throughout the city by the hundreds.
The new church building, now under construction on the corner of Main and Hickory Streets, just opposite Ferger Place, only one short block from the East Lake car line, will be known as the "Dr. Shinn Memorial," having been so named in memory of the man who organized it. When completedthe church will represent an expenditure of $25,000, and is said to be constructed after a most artistic model. A delicate compliment to the beloved Dr. Shinn is embodied in the building of the church along the lines of the old Virginia architecture, Virginia being the native state of Dr. Shinn.
The friends of liberal Christianity welcome this beautiful church to the city and expect that it will continue its influence upon the moral and spiritual life of the community to its great uplift.
During Mr. Robinson's pastorate the church has grown rapidly, one hundred and twenty-five having been added to the membership, which number includes many of the leading citizens of the city.

- Historic City - Chattanooga; containing views and descriptive matter of historic points of interest, scenery, pictures of old and new buildings, leading men, etc., all artistically and pleasingly intermingled. by Mrs Susie McGarver Webster McGowan-Cooke (1915 Chattanooga) 173-5

part of his obituary:
Dr. Luther Riley Robinson, 73, pastor of the Good Shepherd Universalist Church in Racine from 1924 to 1930, died May 31 at his home in Somerset, Ky. Dr. Robinson was born in Princeton, Ky., July 5, 1874, and was ordained when 19. He served pastorates in Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin and California, was midwest superintendent of the Universalist Church for four years and secretary-superintendent of the Wisconsin Universalist churches for 16 years.

note that it does not mention his first Universalist 'pastorates' in Tennessee. ?!

created 12jan2015
tom kunesh