(The following was written by Janet Shailer 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.)
First Presbyterian Church of Grove City
A group of about 16 members of the German Reformed Church (St. John’s) met on November 16, 1856 to petition the Presbytery of Columbus to allow them to organize what would become the First Presbyterian Church of Grove City. The church organized in November 1858 and among its first trustees was William Foster Breck, considered to be the village founder. Services were held in the Highland mission.
According to the “History of the First Presbyterian Church of Grove City”, a plot of land was purchased for a church at what is now 3496 Park Street, just west of the railroad tracks. Later it was moved west to 3506 – 3510 Park Street for the same reason the Methodist moved their Parish – the trains frightened the horses.
In August 1883, this building was sold to Adam Grant for $400 and he, in tern, sold a lot on the northeast corner of Kingston and Broadway to the congregation for $300. This new one-room brick church was dedicated on October 19, 1884. 26 years later, while excavating for a cellar, one wall fell. It was rebuilt largely through the efforts of the Ladies Aid Society, who raised funds for the project. The building would be razed in 1955.
In 1949 or 1950, the congregation decided to move to a new location where it could expand. Land at 4227 Broadway was donated by Dr. and Mrs. A.B. White and, in 1950, a steel structure was built. By 1954, a new building campaign had started and “ox roasts” were held to raise money.
On February 23, 1958, the present Sanctuary was dedicated. It was built at a cost of $45,000. A small addition was added to the rear of the sanctuary in 1961 (the room was used for the Grove City Preschool). Meanwhile the metal building was used for church school, scouting and fellowship.
The Christian Education Building (with basement) was completed in 1972 at a cost of $130,000. In the late 1970s, the property north of the church was purchased by Mr and Mrs. Ed Montoney and given to the church. The house on the property was razed.
As the church celebrated its 125th anniversary, a building program was started to enlarge the sanctuary and add a wing. On April 20th, 1997, the latest edition was dedicated. It holds a new Fellowship Center, kitchen, additional classrooms and overflow space at the rear of the sanctuary. The former Fellowship Hall was remodeled to accommodate the preschool and provide extra Sunday school classes. Additional land, including a dwelling on Sunshine Place, was purchased for $80,000 to allow for the expansion.
(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry.)