Central Methodist Church

A new church is usually created out of some major disagreement or a change in religious doctrine in which a portion of the congregation does not agree.  This doesn’t appear to be the case when the Central Methodist Church was created in 1905.  Methodism had been growing so fast that it was necessary for a second church to be erected in Mansfield.  The only hint of unhappiness is mentioned on March 8, 1905, in which a small article in the News Journal mentions a second meeting at the home of Edward S. Nail, being called for the First Methodist Church. “The meeting is said to have been precipitated at this time by the passing of resolutions at a recent meeting of the church trustees to expend a large amount of money in completely remodeling the present church edifice.”[1]

First United Methodist Church Before Renovation

Things moved quickly after this initial meeting at the Nail home.  On March 21, 1905, organizers for the new church attended a school board meeting and arranged for the use of the high school auditorium, for $17.50 a month,[2] to conduct devotional services.[3]  On March 23, the members leaving First Methodist met for the last time at a Thursday evening prayer meeting.  It appears there were no hard feelings. Towards the end of the meeting, the members leaving were asked to stand and L. A. Palmer was called upon to offer a prayer to them. Next, those staying were asked to stand and Mr. C. L. Van Cleve prayed for those individuals.  The meeting came to a close with the two groups singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”[4]

Van Cleve, also superintendent of the Mansfield Public Schools, took charge of the new congregation. At a meeting on May 25, 1905, members decided to purchase the lot in the corner of Park Avenue West and Sycamore Street for $7,420.[5]  The lot was once part of the recently razed John Sherman estate.  In October of 1905, the North Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was held in Shelby, Ohio.  The Rev. Stephon K. Mahon, from Massillon, was appointed pastor of the young congregation.[6]  Vernon Redding, local architect, was hired and plans were accepted in February of 1907.[7]  On June 3, 1907, the Cotter Transfer Company began excavation of the site[8] and, on September 22, 1907, the cornerstone was laid.[9]

On April 5, 1908, three years since the church held its first service, enough of the church was completed to move from the high school auditorium to their new home on the corner of Park Avenue West and Sycamore.  Despite not having a proper building in which to worship, the congregation had nearly doubled in size in three years, now having nearly 300 members.[10]  The church was dedicated on August 27, 1911. The total cost of the building, including land, was $55,000 and church membership had grown to 352 persons.  The church is constructed “of Sandusky limestone with trimmings of Bedford white stone, in the old English style of architecture.  The roof is of dark red Spanish tile.”[11]  The church served Mansfield for nearly 100 years until dwindling membership forced the church to disband in the summer of 2003.[12]  Today the church is home to the Bethesda Fellowship Ministry Center.


[1] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 08 March 1905, p. 3.

[2] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 03 May 1905, p. 3.

[3] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 22 March 1905, p. 6.

[4] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 24 March 1905, p. 5.

[5] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 25 May 1905, p. 12.

[6] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 16 October 1905, p. 2.

[7] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 07 February 1907, p. 7.

[8] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 03 June 1907, p. 10.

[9] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 23 September 1907, p. 3.

[10] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 06 April 1908, p. 7.

[11] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 28 August 1911, p. 5.

[12] The Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 27 September 2003, p. 1C


Postcards: Mansfield, Ohio Churches: Part 2

Here are some more of the many images of churches on postcards from Mansfield, Ohio.  Enjoy.

First Christian Church


First Christian Church stood on West Fourth Street next to Stuhldreher’s across from the Old Post Office.  It was used until a new building at West Third and Bowman was built in 1956.

Central Methodist Church


The cornerstone of the Central Methodist Church was laid in September 22, 1907 on the homestead grounds of John Sherman. Located at 378 Park Ave. West, it is constructed of limestone on the Old English style of architecture. The Church was formed in 1905 with 127 members.  The Church was dedicated on August 27, 1911.

First Methodist Church


Also known as First United Methodist Church located at N. Diamond and Park Ave. East.  One of Mansfield’s earliest congregations, the first recorded sermon was preached by Reverend Elisha W. Bowman in early November 1811, at the cabin of Jacob Newman.  A two story red brick church was built in this location and dedicated on July 3, 1870.  The cornerstone for the current church was laid on November 12, 1905 and it was officially dedicated on October 16, 1910.


First Congregational Church


First Congregational Church, 107 Park Avenue West. This magnificent structure burned on the night of February 11, 1942. The Congregation shared facilities with the Park Avenue Baptist Church until a new building could be constructed on the corner of Millsboro and Marion Avenues.

The Baptist Church


View of the Park Avenue Baptist Church on the northwest corner of Park Avenue West and North Walnut Street. Dedicated on June 17, 1863. The church moved further out Park Avenue in the late 1920’s. The old church was demolished to make way for the Farmer’s Bank Building.


Park Avenue Baptist Church nest to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Building, now the Mansfield Memorial Museum.

St. Matthews Church


The first St. Matthew’s Church, which was located at 37 Park Avenue West. In 1904, the congregation agreed to share this church with the Reformed Presbyterian Church and purchased the building from the them on February 22, 1906.  This building was used until a new building at the corner of Sherman Place and Penn Avenue was constructed.

St. Luke’s Church


On December 16, 1888, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, on the triangle of Marion Ave. and Park Ave. West, was dedicated.  There were many differences of opinion that resulted in the separation of the St. Luke’s congregation from The First Lutheran Church, which has set at the corner of Park Ave. West and Mulberry since 1894.  A final decision to withdraw from the church was made on April 16, 1886, and on July 2, 1886 St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mansfield was organized.

Postcards: Mansfield, Ohio Churches

A sample of the many images of churches on postcards from Mansfield, Ohio.  This is just a small sample of the churches which have been located in this city.  Enjoy.

United Presbyterian Church


Located at 53 West Third Street, the final services were held July 9, 1950 in one of Mansfield’s oldest churches.  The site is now the location of the parking garage for the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library.

First Presbyterian Church

Library Document Station_4

On May 14, 1893, a new stone First Presbyterian Church on North Mulberry was dedicated, which was on the corner of Mulberry and Third streets across the street from the United Presbyterian Church.

First English Lutheran Church


This church is still located at the corner of Mulberry and Park Avenue West at 53 Park Avenue West. Construction started in 1891 and the church was dedicated in 1894.

Grace Episcopal Church


This church is still located at the corner of Bowman and Third street.  It’s former location on West Third Street had been sold to the Mansfield Public Library Board for the construction of a Carnegie Library.

Main Street Evangelical Church


Located at the corner of Main Street and Lexington Avenue, the church was built in 1905 and demolished in the 1950’s.  The site is the current home to the Main Street United Methodist Church.

St Johns Evangelical Church


The congregation was first organized in 1845 to serve German immigrants.  This church was built in 1871 and stood on South Mulberry and and West First Streets, at the site of the original church built in 1845.


This church was dedicated May 5, 1912 and still stands at the corner of Park Avenue East and Franklin Avenue.

Mayflower Memorial Church


Located at 44 Buckingham Street, the church was dedicated of February 10, 1891.  It was first known as the Plymouth Congregational Church, the name was changed because Susan Sturges, who donated a generous amount of money, requested it be named in memory of her ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.

First United Brethren Church


Located at 85 Park Avenue East, the church was finished and dedicated on February 11, 1912.

St. Peter’s Church


The third church was built after fire destroyed the second in 1889.  After construction of the current church this structure was used as St. Peter’s High School


The corner stone for the current St. Peter’s was laid May 14, 1911 and the church was dedicated on September 16, 1917.  Some delay being attributed to World War I.

St. Paul’s Church


St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 88 West Third Street. The church was located on the north side of West Third, just west of North Mulberry. The site later became the site of the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services.

More to come…



Mitchell Chapel A.M.E. Church

On October 27, 1896 the Mitchell Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church was dedicated on Glessner Ave., but the church’s history goes back many years before this.  The earliest records of the church in Mansfield, Ohio were said to be in the possession of the late Alice Poindexter Cole, but no minutes were kept.  The church met briefly on Diamond Street and the earliest members were: Ada Beaumont, Flora Davis, Mary Dunmore, Mr. and Mrs. James Edmunds, Julia Evans, Liggin Jones, John Liggins and Mariah and Thomas Wilson.  It is also rumored that the group “met in the old Presbyterian church and later in a tinning shop owned by Mr. Runyon” before moving to Glessner Ave, which was then Pine St.

An early history taken from A. A. Graham’s History of Richland County, Ohio published in 1880:

The African Methodist Episcopal Church is located on East Diamond Street. It is not at present owned by the congregation, which is small, numbering only about twenty members.  It was organized at that place in 1875, the principal members being George Conley, Philip Harris, Judge Sheffield, William Steward and Mrs. Rachel Steward and Mrs. Isaac Pleasants.  The ministers have been Rev. Armhouse, Neely Jackson, William Mackedew, N. L. Bray and J. W. Jackson. The Sunday school connected with this church was organized by Mr. L. J. Bonar, in 1865, in the basement of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Bonar was Superintendent for several years. After him Mr. Isaac Pleasants has occupied that position acceptably. The membership is about thirty-one.”

While the parishioners were on Diamond Street, it was decided that a larger and better suited building was needed, and a group was put together to search for a proper location.  A building was found on Pine Street, now Glessner Ave., and, after discovering the building owner was George F. Carpenter, a group went to meet with him.  He allowed them use of the building free of charge.  Later a church was erected and the land was deeded over to H. E. Bell, the attorney and trustee of the church estate.

Mitchell AME001

First church on Glessner Ave.

In November of 1948, Rev. F. D. Barnes became the 31st minister to serve the congregation.  It was determined that the original building was beyond repair and a decision was made that it be razed in 1950.  That same year, construction of a new building began.  The second building was dedicated on September 23, 1951 and the congregation stayed at this location at 151 Glessner Ave. for almost 50 years before moving to their current location at 182 South Adams St.

Mitchell AME002

Second Church on Glessner Ave.

The early history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church from the church’s website:

The AMEC grew out of the Free African Society (FAS) which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. When officials at St. George’s MEC pulled blacks off their knees while praying, FAS members discovered just how far American Methodists would go to enforce racial discrimination against African Americans. Hence, these members of St. George’s made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although most wanted to affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church, Allen led a small group who resolved to remain Methodists. In 1794 Bethel AME was dedicated with Allen as pastor. To establish Bethel’s independence from interfering white Methodists, Allen, a former Delaware slave, successfully sued in the Pennsylvania courts in 1807 and 1815 for the right of his congregation to exist as an independent institution. Because black Methodists in other middle Atlantic communities encountered racism and desired religious autonomy, Allen called them to meet in Philadelphia to form a new Wesleyan denomination, the AME.”

Mitchell AME003

Richard Allen, Founder of The African Methodist Episcopal Church