First Baptist Church History

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Image of Welsh baptist Church.

1890-1892
Image of Welsh baptist Church.

In the year 1889, sixteen young men were baptized in the Mahoning River. Along with others, they decided to organize a Baptist Church. For a time the meetings were held in the Welsh Baptist Church located on Mill Street. The group later moved to the Old Town Hall located on the present site of the McKinley Memorial where they held services for two years.

The permanent organization of the First Baptist Church of Niles, Ohio was effected in the early summer of 1890 with seventeen charter members. Rev. A.M. Eley, the first Pastor, was a faithful minister of the Gospel and served the church for nine years. This first church and parsonage were erected during his pastorate and the membership grew from 17 to 143.


Image of frame church.

1892-1920
Image of frame church.

Ground was broken in March 1892 and a frame church building was erected at 26 East Church Street and completed that same year. The following year a parsonage was built adjacent to the church building. This building was used as the Pastor’s home until 1933 after which it served as a Sunday School Annex.

The original parsonage was torn down in 1960 and the area developed into the present parking lot. In the year 1895 a large bell was donated to the church which is now incorporated in the present bell tower and is thought to be the largest bell in the Mahoning Valley area.

 


Special Exercise: Raising of American flag and dedication of Honor Roll. October 13, 1918.

Special Exercise: Raising of American flag and dedication of Honor Roll. October 13, 1918.

Special Exercise: Raising of American flag and dedication of Honor Roll. October 13, 1918. Special Exercise: Raising of American flag and dedication of Honor Roll. October 13, 1918.

In 1920 the major part of the first church was demolished and a new and larger edifice with a stucco exterior was erected.

1920-1941

In 1920 the major part of the first church was demolished and a new and larger edifice with a stucco exterior was erected.

This was accomplished during the pastorate of Rev. A.M. Murphy.

For a number of years this building served the congregation well, but on Saturday evening, February 8, 1941, fire fanned by a high wind in sub-zero weather, gutted the church and left it a twisted heap of ruins.

Miraculously, the pulpit and a Bible were recovered from the ashes.

Newspaper clipping with details of the fire that destroyed the First Baptist Church built in 1920.

Newspaper clipping with details of the fire that destroyed the First Baptist Church built in 1920.


Fire destruction

Fire destruction

Fire destruction


Fire destruction

Fire destruction

Fire destruction


1951 Church with Parsonage attached.

1951 Church with Parsonage attached.

1941-1953

The congregation met for some years in the First Christian Church Parish House as well as the McKinley Memorial Auditorium. The erection of a new building met with several discouraging delays due to World War II and other unforeseen circumstances.

On July 12, 1949, ground was broken for the construction of the present church. The cornerstone was laid on October 21 and on Sunday, September 2, 1951 the completed structure was dedicated with great rejoicing.

In speedy order, the church indebtedness was liquidated. A mortgage burning ceremony was held October 11, 1953.

Rev. Arthur F. Jones served as Pastor of the church during this period of time.

1951 Dedication.

1951 Dedication.


First Baptist Church in 1951.

First Baptist Church in 1951.

Church Bell to Ring Again.

Church Bell to Ring Again.

Upon completion of the new church, steady growth brought about the need for enlarged Sunday School facilities.

1953-1974

Upon completion of the new church, steady growth brought about the need for enlarged Sunday School facilities.

Plans were made and in late August 1959, ground was broken for the present Sunday School building. Rev. T. Fred Hussey was the pastor during this time.

 


In 1972, under the guidance of Pastor Richard Sparling, the 160-foot lot behind the church was purchased and blacktopped.

In 1973, the adjoining lot and warehouse building were purchased to be used as an educational and recreational center.

Map of area showing purchased

Map of area showing purchased
properties and adjacent properties.

125th Anniversary.

125th Anniversary.


Pastors of the First Baptist

Pastors of the First Baptist
Church of Niles, Ohio.

   
 
 
 
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