College Hall was built from 1859-1864. The first two floors were completed by 1861. Workers built kilns on-site to fire the clay brought up from the Wabash River banks. The timber beams and supports are made from wood that was grown on site. Each floor is a different height -ranging from 14 feet to 18 feet – to keep the visual symmetry of the building so it never looks like it gets narrower at the top. The spiral staircase from the 5th floor up to the cupola (the tower) allows guests to look over the Wabash River and the area countryside.
At the 1858 Peru Convention of the Christian Churches (the Western, Antioch, Eel River and Tippecanoe Conferences) approved the resolution to establish an institution of learning. Elder A. Snethen proposed the name “Union Christian College”. This was to be a liberal arts college for men and women with male and female professors. College Hall was the first building of the college to be built at the present site. Other buildings projects: 1910 - the President’s Home; Wilkinson Hall the women’s residents housing 70 female students; 1920 – Hatten Hall (chapel and gym – named in honor of Professor Sarah Elizabeth Hatten). Union Christian College had two portions – the Academy providing high school level education and the college providing Bachelor of Arts and Science Degrees as well as Master’s Degree in Arts and Science as well as Master of Divinity. International students were welcomed as well. Courses were offered in music, art, business, teacher training, theological courses preparing students for Christian Ministry. 1864 was the first graduating class. Summer camp programs were established for the area and denomination churches.
Ownership of Union Christian College was transferred to the Congregational/Christian churches through the Indiana Conference, Illinois Conference, the National Home Missionary Society and the Council for Social Action. With the change in ownership, the name was changed to Merom Institute.
Carrying on the legacy of Union Christian College and Merom Institute, the name was changed to the Merom Conference Center in 1985 when it was purchased by the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ.
In 2015, Merom Conference Center ownership was transferred and we became Merom Camp and Retreat Center. Where will this next century take us?