St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Monday, December 11, 2017
Bringing the Power of Christ to the World

1874 - 1923

Throughout 1874, work continued on the new building for St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church. The foundation was completed in May and the cornerstone was laid in June. Brick work also began that month. In October 1874, as work was completed on the roof, a tragedy occurred. Charles E. Jack, a carpenter working on the northwest corner of the building, was killed when he slipped and fell almost seventy feet to the ground. Nearly two weeks later another worker, Marshall Thompson fell approximately 60 feet from a temporary platform in the bell tower. Although he sustained a broken leg in the fall, he fortunately survived the accident.
 
St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church - with 3 Front Entrances 
 
On February 21, 1875 the dedication of the “basement rooms” of the new church took place. There were four rooms on the first floor. Church services were held in the main room (now the Fellowship Hall). In the rear of the main room and connected to it by folding doors were three rooms. Two were called the church parlors and were used for prayer services and Bible classrooms. The third, on the west side was for the infant class. Although the entire outer structure of the building was completed in 1874, the nation was experiencing an economic depression and the upstairs “audience room” or sanctuary was not completed for nine years.
 
In the spring of 1883 work began to complete the interior of the second floor. In October of that year, plans were also underway to erect the Edison Electric Illuminating Company building on Monroe Street. In December 1883, quick-thinking contractors wired the church for electric lights, making St. Paul’s Church the first public building in the world to be wired for electricity while being built. To mark the occasion, Thomas A. Edison presented the church a splendid electric light chandelier – still in use today.
 
St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church - Completed Interior 
 
On January 6, 1884 the newly completed building was dedicated. Although the temperature was below zero, the morning services were attended by an audience which completely filled the church. Crowds filled the church again that night for evening services. Many were doubtless drawn to the church to see the Edison electric light which beautifully illuminated the room and presented a scene never before witnessed. The total cost of the first two phases of construction on this building was about $50,000. The membership of the church was 360 at that time.
 
Civil War General and nationally known orator, William Harvey Gibson was a member of St. Paul’s church. When he passed away on November 22, 1894, his funeral services were held at St. Paul’s. Special trains from Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and way stations brought men of note from all parts of Ohio. An estimated 9,000 people processed through the church to pay their respects.
 
The Funeral of General William Harvey Gibson in 1894
 
By 1896, St. Paul’s Church had a regular schedule of Sunday School at 8:45 a.m. and worship services at 10:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sundays. There were 18 Sunday School classes with a membership of 400. Church membership was 600.