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The Salvation Army began its work here humbly and moved frequently. In July 1907, the address for The Salvation Army was 401 E. Main St. At that time Faris Meat Market occupied that location, and the growing members of the Salvation Army met on the second floor of the building. In August of 1907, The Salvation Army moved to the back of the Graham Hotel. Again in October, the Army moved to the second story of the Princess Theater, but they only stayed there for one month. In November 1907, The Salvation Army moved to the second story of Bloomington Paint and Hardware. It was here they stayed for a relatively long period of time: 6 months. By May of 1908, The Salvation Army had moved into the old Methodist Church, which was called the Tom O’Daniel Corner. During the first year in Monroe County, The Salvation Army moved five times, and yet continued to serve and grow.
The year 1909 offered The Salvation Army a stable location. In May of 1909, 500 South Morton became the home of The Salvation Army. Captains Mitchell were in charge of this period of growth until they were replaced in 1910.
In 1912, The Salvation Army moved yet again to 505 W. 11th Street, close to present day Bender Lumber. This was the first time that The Salvation Army moved out of Downtown and into the west side of Bloomington. At this time, the officers made the decision to move based on the migration of working-class families to that side of town.
Plans for a more permanent Citadel were being made at the corner of 3rd and Walnut. However, while the Citadel at that site was being constructed, The Salvation Army moved twice, further west to the locations at 1200 W. 6th St. in 1913 and 1225 W. 6th St. in March 1915.
The Salvation Army moved into the Citadel at 300 S. Walnut with much fanfare. The building was constructed out of Indiana limestone, the first Salvation Army to do so. The Salvation Army had built its first structure in Monroe County and remained in this central location for over twenty years waging war against the devil’s work. Unfortunately, this building no longer stands.
In 1939, the Army built on the present day location at 111 N. Rogers. The officers wanted to get back to a neighborhood feel, and so a building was constructed out of limestone, complete with a chapel, officers quarters, an office and classroom/activity space. This building is still in use by the Salvation Army for much of the same purposes, however, Corps officers no longer live on the premises.
In 1975 the Community Center was dedicated to God’s glory by Divisional Commander Major Robert Thompson. This addition included a gymnasium, offices and a conference room.
The present day Thrift Store was another addition that was made in 1994.
Today the mission of The Salvation Army has changed little. We are a church first and a social service agency second. These are not mutually exclusive goals, indeed they are compatible to the extent that the Lord blesses us with the ability to reach out to those in spiritual and material need.
Since its inception in Monroe County, The Salvation Army has functioned as a church whose goal was to reach out to the un-churched. From the earliest days, corps leaders held Sunday school services after lunch in their homes, often personally taking the children home afterwards. Early records also show that vacation bible school occurred regularly, spreading the love and hope that Christ offers to neighborhood children.
The Salvation Army not only sought to meet the spiritual needs of clients but also their material needs. Christmas baskets have been the most constant of these efforts. When The Salvation Army creates these today, we use cardboard boxes and volunteers neatly pack canned goods, cereal, milk and meat into the boxes. However, as early as the 1920s, round wooden baskets were packed with similar items to be given to those in need. Another service offered was a home for transient men. This house offered men the material benefits of a roof, a bed, and provided for their spiritual needs as well. This mirrors the recently closed transitional housing unit, which aimed to provide a temporary place of residence for families in need. To this day, The Salvation Army is a church first and a social service agency second.
The goal has never changed: bring Christ to those in spiritual and material need, doing the most good by those who seek Him.
Captain Gordon Hoag: Gordon_Hoag@usc.salvationarmy.org
Captain Cindy Hoag: Cindy_Hoag@usc.salvationarmy.org
The Salvation Army Bloomington Indiana Corps is located at:
111 N. Rogers
Bloomington, IN 47404
PO Box 2117
Bloomington, IN 47402