First Church, Congregational in Painesville, Ohio was 200 years old on June 17th, 2010. The congregation was formed on that date in 1810 with 13 members, and has had a continuous presence in and around the Painesville Square since that time.
A committee has been working on many projects and activities leading up to the June 17th 2010 celebration. Among the planned projects are:
- Banners on display on city light poles around the church, as well as banners on the buildings. These banners will have our church logo with the words “200 years of serving God and Community”
- A drawing will be held for a hand made quilted wall hanging of the stained glass “Rose Window“. Two large quilted banners of it will be hung in the Sanctuary. These are being made by the women of the church.
- A sequel to the 1981 First Church History Book will be published in full color, covering 1981 to 2010. This will be available by purchasing reservations early next year.
- Monthly fund raiser dinners, open to the public, will be held starting in September 2009.
- A public concert by Tom Trenney, a talented, former organist of the church, will be in June, 2010. He is well known for his musical ability.
- A special communion service will be held at the exact time of the two previous anniversary communions. The first in 1810, and the second on June 17, 1910. This third anniversary communion will take place at 4:00PM on June 17, 2010. Church bell ringing will follow.
- A special service and meal on Sunday, June 20, 2010 will conclude the festivites.
DID YOU KNOW?
A plaque has been placed on the front of the Church designating First Church as a member of THE MENTOR AVENUE HISTORIC DISTRICT. You may have noticed similar plaques on nearby homes. This district has been entered in the U. S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places.
In 1979, the area bounded on the east by Liberty St., both sides of Wood Street, south to Washington Street, and both sides of mentor Avenue until it intersects with Washington St. at Charter Oak Point were included in this designation. These boundaries have recently been enlarged to include parts of Washington Street.
The district is significant both architecturally and historically. people of local and national reputation have lived here. The architecture ranges from Greek Revival and Italianate to the Queen Anne and Eclectic Revival styles.
One of our neighbors to the west, the little white house, at 55 Mentor Avenue, was built by Jonathan Goldsmith in 1820 and home to many professional people. 85 Mentor Avenue was once the home of the wealthy owner of a Painesville plow factory. The house at the corner of Wood Street and Mentor Avenue was the home of Thomas W. Harvey, a leading educator in our nation. the Sessions House or Tuscan House at 157 Mentor Avenue is said to be one of the outstanding examples in the country of the Italian Villa style.
Two other Jonathan Goldsmith buildings are in this district. The Levi Shepard residence at 234 Mentor Avenue and of course the other building across the street from our church, which anchors this district – the Painesville City Hall. It is good to be included in this unusual designation for a city the size of Painesville.
Some of this information came from a Telegraph article dated January 2, 1979. Janet Rock found it in a file of family clippings and thought it might be of historical value to the church. Just a reminder, don’t throw out those old church related items. If you don’t want them, we just might need them to add to our Archives.
The plaque was purchased as a gift in memory of Burt Talcott.
In the Narthex is another plaque establishing FIRST CHURCH as a member of THE HERITAGE HOME REGISTER of THE LAKE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY. This register is open to all homes and structures in Lake County that are over 50 years old. FIRST CHURCH certainly qualifies in that respect having been built in 1862. The goal of the Lake County Historical Society was to have 500 buildings registered by 2009.
Barbara Beckwith, a devoted member of the Bi-Centennial committee, prepared the application for the designation before her death and we received notification that we were approved in June of 2009. (Barb also spent much time and research on an application for the Nationial Registry, but we were not approved because of our many structural changes throughout the years.)
This handsome new plaque in the Narthex is cast of bronze and was purchased by the Bi-Centennial Committee. This was made possible by very generous contributions from Marion and Tom Weedon and Margaretta and Bill Branthoover. The committee is very grateful for their help.