The Batesville Institute was constructed on Block 13 under the leadership of the local Masonic Order with the purpose of creating “an institution for the promotion of Fine Arts, Mechanism, Science, Education, Commerce and Agriculture, and the Diffusion of Knowledge.” Its three stories and cupola formed the largest building in town. The cornerstone was laid in 1856 and construction continued for two years. A formal dedication ceremony was held on September 29, 1858. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by fire only months later on January 16, 1859.
Summary taken from “Up from the River: The Story of Batesville’s Historic Main Street, Bicentennial Edition” which is available for purchase at Old Independence Regional Museum or Batesville’s Main Street office.)
Photo 1: Dedication of the Batesville Institute in 1858 (OIRM, Fagg, Jane collection)
Photo 2: Batesville Institute after the fire (OIRM, Powell-Guard collection #574)