(The following was written by Mrs. D. Tyler, and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

In 1924, Rev. Eugene Drake, a Baptist Minister, and his daughter, Madeline (now Mrs. James Hutchinson), were quite concerned with the little church on the corner being closed. So they sat in front of the church one afternoon and prayed for divine guidance in opening the church, and they felt they received their answer. Following this, they contacted a Rev. Gilfillen, who was a Methodist minister, to intercede with the Methodist Church to allow Rev. Drake to open the church again, but under the Baptist name. Rev. Drake and his daughter unboarded the windows, cleaned the church and got it ready for “meetings” once again. Rev. Drake served the church until his death in 1927.

At Rev. Drake’s death, Rev. Grover C. Gilfillen became Salem’s pastor and the church reverted back to the Methodists. Rev. Gilfillen was minister from 1928 to 1931. He now lives in Columbus.

On October 13th, 1928, sparks from trash being burned by employees of the Midland Power & Light Company ignited the wood shingles of the church roof. The fire roared out of control, burning the church to the ground. The only thing that was saved was the piano that was carried out by Mr. W.S. Brown, Mr. Lawrence Wells and possibly some others.

In 1929, Mr. W.S. Brown was responsible for rebuilding the present Salem Church (minus the addition). Due to the efforts of Mr. Brown, the church received $1,100 in damages from the Power Company. He was paid $25.00 per week, by the church, to work full-time at rebuilding. Most of the gravel, lumber and cement was donated free to the church. The seats that were placed in the new building were old streetcar seats, purchased for $1 a piece. It is interesting to know that a team of mules was used to dig out the basement and, with the aid of a block and tackle, to place the bell in the bell tower. Incidentally, the church bell weighs 700 pounds.

In December 1929, a mortgage was put on the church for $1,800 to pay off the debt of the new construction. Trustees at the time of the building of the new church were H.T. Lambert, W.S. Brown, William Tyler, E.D. Rhyan, T.H. Martindale and A. Basmajian. H.T. Lambert received his local Preacher’s License while attending Salem Church, but was never its pastor. Rev. Lambert now pastors a church in Flushing, Ohio, and expects to retire next June.

In the 1930s Salem Church struggled along, very short on both money and attendance. They were fortunate to have ten or fifteen in Sunday school and at one time, we learned, there were only three families attending the church. Being on a circuit Salem Church only had services once a month for a while.

The next decade brought the greatest changes in the history of Salem Church. With Rev. C.A. Moore as our Minister, Salem Church, ushering in 1950, was to get the first feeling of “growing pains”. Since the Sunday School had doubled in attendance and many more new members were added to the church membership, the small church rapidly outgrew its facilities.