Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church

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Institution Name: Tabor College
Original/Historic Place Name: Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church
Location on Campus: southern section of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1893original construction
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: wood
Roof: wood shingles
ca. 1893-1910chapel (house of worship for the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church)
ca. 1908-1909classrooms
ca. 1910-present (2006)chapel (college chapel)

Tabor College was founded in 1908 by members of the Mennonite Brethren and Krimmer Mennonite Brethren conferences as a place of liberal arts education with a Christian foundation. Classes were slated to begin in September 1908, but due to various obstacles, the building was not completed at that time. A local constituent congregation, the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, located on the corner of Washington and Grand streets, Hillsboro, offered the use of their building for classroom instruction. The offer was gladly accepted and the professors held their initial classes in this church building the first semester and part of the second, until the completion of the college building.

This historic church, which was built in 1893 by Polish Mennonite immigrants, was sold to the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, in 1910, and used by that congregation until 1970, at which time it was sold at auction to a former Tabor College administrator, Raymond F. Wiebe. Wiebe, who valued the history of the structure and envisioned further use for it, temporarily stored the church building on his farm, until plans were made to relocate and restore the building on Tabor College campus. Dedication of the building on the Tabor campus was held in 1993. The structure is reputed to be the oldest existing Mennonite Brethren Church in the United States, although it is not still used as a house of worship. The simple building, complete with cloakrooms, nursery ("Kinderstube") and balcony, has been fully restored to its original condition, and placed on a new basement with kitchen and restroom facilities.


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Last update: November 2006