A newspaper account read as follows: During service on Sunday night, Jan. 2, 1872, the sanctuary floor dropped about two inches. Knowing the ground was right under them, and after a brief time to get their breath, they continued to sing. At the Wednesday night prayer meeting on March 19, 1872, a package was given to Rev. and Mrs. W. H. Painter. It contained a paisley shawl and fifty dollars in greenbacks from the congregation. During those early days the ministers were paid a salary of $500 or $600 a year. Through the generosity of concerned members a dressed chicken, a ham, a bushel of potatoes or apples were presented to the parsonage family to help augment the family larder. Another cold and windy, Sunday morning when people arrived a sign was on the door, "No Church Today". Someone had forgotten to order coal. An interesting fact about the congregations was that they bought their own hymnals, (at a cost of 15 cents to 45 cents). That way they could take them home and practice the songs.
The church had no facilities for social activities so the dinners, musicals, youth programs and entertainment was held at Diamond Hall, located on the southwest corner of Bucyrus and Seltzer Streets, across the street from the church.
By the middle of the 1890's the church had grown to over 250 members and over 50 in the youth group which was called the Epworth League. Rev. William Kepler, who was very popular with the youth, organized the Epworth League in 1890. Because the number of members was growing, the church seemed to be getting smaller, so it was decided to build a new church.
On August 14, 1899, the M.E. church trustees sold the old church and property for $1200 to E.C. Winters after the new church was completed.
The iron box in the cornerstone contains city newspapers of that time, names of the church membership, a roster of city officials, a roster of teachers in the public schools, and other items which might be of interest to future generations. The contractors, Bauer, Minich and Emmer continued construction until it was completed a year later. The photo above is the new Church taken about 1917 with a picture of Rev. C. D. Castle inserted.
The dedication of the new Methodist Episcopal Church was held Sept. 10, 1899, under the pastorate of A.F.Upp. It was built at a cost of $15,600 of which $5,200 was collected at that first Sunday morning service. According to the local newspaper, there were over 1000 people in attendance. Bishop D.H. Moore of Cincinnati presided at both the morning and evening services. At the evening service a large crowd was turned away for the lack of seats. Special evening services were held all week commemorating the dedication of the church.
The outside was constructed of soft red brick. In 1930 the brick was covered with Perma-Stone. In 1972 the stone was repaired and cleaned, and in the summer of 1998, the exterior received repairs on the roof and all the wood trim was cleaned and painted. New windows were installed above the balcony.
Inside the church there was beautiful green carpet. The walls were decorated with large religious pictures. The circular double chandelier was made of metal and glass. The top ring was five feet in diameter and circled by 48 or 50 incandescent lights. The lower part was two feet in diameter with 18 or 20 lights. These lights were the carbon filament incandescent lights invented a few years earlier by Thomas Edison. They were a great improvement over the old kerosene and gas lamps used at old churches. The chandelier was replaced in 1925 with our present day lighting. The beautiful stained glass windows glow with the rays of God's sunshine.
In 1913, a new Sunday school room and a balcony was added, brown carpet was laid, and the basement enlarged,. The choir loft was enlarged in 1929-1930. Again in 1942, more repairs were made, including the replacement of the old coal furnace with a new gas one, a new kitchen put in the basement, new red carpet in the sanctuary, and the entire church repainted. In 1964 the area under the sanctuary was excavated, four Sunday school rooms were added, and the kitchen and dining rooms were remodeled and enlarged. In 1977 the sanctuary and narthex was painted through the generosity of Mrs. Olyn Hull, Mrs. Lester Hipsher, and Dick, Harry and Tom Arter. Loren Eldridge and sons, Randy and Loren did the painting. February 19, 1978 will be remembered as the first worship service held in the remodeled sanctuary with the new pews and carpet. New carpet, brown in color, was installed again in 1995. Then October of 1998 the kneeling rail was remodeled and received new pads, along with the pews, mauve in color.
Four items were brought from the old church: a small foot pump organ, the bell, the communion service, and Sunday school chairs. The story goes that one Saturday afternoon all the members of the class met at the old church and carried their chairs down the street to our present church building. The bell has to be another story.
This photo of the Junior Choir was taken in 1934.
Back row left to right: Mary Ellen Obenhour, Katherine Kirchner, Eunice Dickinson, Dorothy Smith, Janette Dane's, Manie Wilshen, Edna Mae Cox, Allabelle Rinkley, Maymie Kirshner, Gordon Morkel and Floyd Cox.
Front row: Dick Kime, Alfred Harris, Mary Dickenson, Martha Foy, Tillie Clemans, Iola Mae Michael, Grace Hesser, Richard Dickenson and Bob Smith.
(Edna Mae Krichbaum's Photo)
The foot-pump organ was brought from the old church and used until 1904 when, under the pastorate of Rev. J. W. H. Brown, a new Estey pipe organ was installed at the cost of $2,000, half of which was donated by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. The bellows that furnished the air for the organ was first operated with a water motor and then later an electric motor and blower were installed. The dedicatory recital for the new Estey Organ was held Tuesday evening June 6, 1904. Edward Young Mason, Professor of organ, from Ohio Wesleyan University was at the keyboard. A new Schantz pipe organ was installed in 1965 at the cost of $13,000. The electric console was placed at the south side of the choir loft and with the exception of the ornamental pipes, the entire organ was replaced.
The church has been blessed with many fine organists. Among those who have served are Roberta Hesser Morton, Etta Speelman, Margaret Shepard Starbird, Carrie Miller, Grace Hesser, Joanna Trimble, Ora McClaren, Mary Obenour, Mildred Kime, Cecil Johnson, Ethel Jackson (who served over 25 years), Doris May Spore, Mrs. Carole Histed, Bruce Histed, Diane Burks, Pat Supon and Mike Cole
Our church also has been blessed with many talented choir directors who were able to bring out the best of music from a long list of choir voices raised in praise down through the years. Included in the list of directors are: A.T. Speelman, Frank Hartman, William Todd, O.B.Kirk, Mrs. Elfreda Smith, G.K. Lombard, Mrs. Alma Foster, Mrs. Doris Mae Spore, Mrs. Louise Koppe, and Mrs. Marilyn Weaver from Galion, Mrs. Martha Jones, Phil Workman, Maureen Wygant, Jim Jewell, Mrs. Grace Figel, and Mrs. Karen Schipper from Bucyrus, and Mrs. Pat Supon.
In addition there have been many officers of the church who have given many hours of their time and labor to see that everything goes well.
On October 27, 1978 the First United Methodist Church of Crestline was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Sunday afternoon sun was very warm, the blue sky had puffs of cotton clouds sitting about, as the folks began arriving early for the four o'clock service. Many dressed in period costume of 1899. Inside the sanctuary the beautiful stained glass windows glowed from the brilliant rays of God's sunlight shining through them. The walls were filled with the music of the choir, piano and organ. An atmosphere of excitement and happiness spread over the crowd as the pastors reflected on the past events and history of the church and its people. The service followed the order of the original 1899 Dedicatory Service. Rev. Evelyn Weaver was guest minister. She and Pastor Denise Marikis both reflected on the church's past history of the building and people.
For this special service Mr. Michael Cole wrote the music and Mrs. Pat Supon wrote the words for a new hymn, "Sing His Praise". Three past organist, Diana Burks, Carole and Bruce Histed provided some of the organ music.
As part of our yearlong celebration everyone was invited at the Cornerstone Anniversary to take home a small box, which represented the cornerstone. They were to bring this box back to the Dedicatory Service with money saved during the year. This was to see if we could collect the same amount as was collected at the original dedicatory service in 1899.
This is a photo of some of the people of the church that dressed,as they would have one hundred years ago.
September 13, 1998 was a very special day for First United Methodist Church in Crestline, Ohio. They celebrated the 100th anniversary of the lying of the cornerstone of their church. This is also the 154th year of Methodist in Crestline. The Sunday morning service, "Built to Last" focused on Jesus being our cornerstone. Some history of the beginning of Methodists in Crestline and the church building was also included with the message. Music for this service; "Christ the Solid Rock", "Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation", "My Hope Is Built", "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow", and "How Firm a Foundation".
A special afternoon service:
As the clock moved closer to 4:00 p.m. the number of people to share in the celebration increased. They watched the last minute preparation for removing the cornerstone. On Thursday evening, two father-son teams (Tom & Andy McKean, Ted & Andy Muntis) used a brick saw to cut the cement around the stone so that it would be easier to remove on Sunday.
The service began inside where the members talked of "times remembered at the church" and shared more history. The music for the evening included: "Holy Ground", "The Church's One Foundation", and "Bless Be the Tie That Binds". After prayer we moved outside to the cornerstone.
After a short struggle, Ted and Andy Muntis removed it. The stone contained a copper box protected by a leather wrap, which disintegrated as the box was removed. Everyone reconvened to the dining hall. Since the box was soldered shut, a knife was used to get it open. Rev. Denise Marikis had the honor of removing and showing the contents to all present. A potluck dinner followed this. The objects from the time capsule were displayed on a table that was surrounded all evening by folks looking at the items. Some of the items included: Newspapers from Crestline Democrat, Crestline Advocate and the Columbus Evening Dispatch, a small book listing the church members and officers, an 1897 Crestline City Directory, an1896 book of Discipline, 1878 Hymnal, and a card with the name Poffenbaugh and Bauer Contractors.
Among the special guest attending; five members of Charles William Conrad Bauer family, one of the builders. Two sons: Sam Adams Bauer and Edward Lewis Bauer; and three granddaughters Belinda Liere, Beatrice Beaubien, and Bonnie Cavegn. Also three former ministers: Rev. & Mrs. Don Adams, Rev. and Mrs. Gene Priest and Rev. Lyle Hinkle.
According to a book from the cornerstone Time Capsule, the old church was dedicated in 1855, Rev. J.F. Kennedy. In 1872 with the Rev. W.H. Painter as pastor, a rededication was held after a bell tower and Sunday school rooms were added to the church. Another rededication in1882, Rev. C.H. Sticking and Rev. G.W. Huddleston pastor, is probably when the bell was installed. I say this because the date on the bell is 1882.
Tom McKean cutting away the cement that holds the old cornerstone in place.
September 10, 1998.
202 North Thoman Street, Crestline, Ohio 44827
Worship: Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
Crestline First United Methodist Church
In 1897 the land on the corner of Thoman and Union Streets was purchased for the new Church. The church bought this lot from Joseph J. Talbott on August 24, 1897 for a sum of $1325.00. The construction started, but because of finance and weather, it was covered over for the winter. In June 1898 the work resumed and the corner stone was laid Aug. 16, 1898 at 2:00p.m.
In 1854 these folks of the Methodist Missionary Society built a church. This was the first church built in Crestline. They started by purchasing a lot, which is now the northwest corner of N. Thoman and West Bucyrus Street. It was bought from Joseph Larwell on April 28, 1854 for a sum of $350. Most all the labor for the building was done with volunteer church labor.