The history of the Methodist Church in Grant
City is long, colorful but sometimes a bit confusing. I am indebted
to Kathryn Prugh Mathews for furnishing me the background material
for this article. Years ago Inez Dawson began keeping material
about the Methodist Church and the material was passed down to
Kathryn some years ago.
The Methodist Church in Grant City was organized in April 1866. Nathaniel Dewitt, a local citizen, was the most influential person in getting the original "class" or church organized. The original members of the church were Mr and Mrs Dewitt and their daughters Nan, Mary, Lucinda, and Emma along with Alvin Logan, Mary Logan, William Moon, Robert Shipley and Joseph Gates.
The church was first served by a circuit riding minister who came about every six weeks. During the intervening weeks a member of the local congregation conducted the services. The early day services were held in a variety of places. In the members homes, the courthouse, Dawsons Hall, the Center schoolhouse and in the United Brethren Church.
In 1868 the trustees of the church bought block #22 from the county seat commissioner for $60. That block is the fourth block directly south of the courthouse square. At that time a Baptist Church stood on the block directly east of block #22.
A home was soon built on this block and it became the home of the district circuit rider.
By 1879 the congregation had decided that they should build a church and they purchased a location nearer to town where the present church now stands. The church was built that year, 1879.
The first church was a building 30x50 feet, running north and south, with the entrance doors in the middle of the south end and the pulpit at the north end. This original building is still a part of the present building.
In 1881 a parsonage was built directly west of the church.
In 1888 a 9x30 foot addition was made to the south end of the building and a 10x10 foot entrance was constructed on the southeast corner. The picture which accompanies this article shows the church after these additions were made. I am convinced, although some others aren't, that the home shown in the picture was the parsonage.
In 1880 block #22 was sold for $575 and the money was used to help pay for the original church which cost $2,000.
In 1904 the church building underwent a major rebuilding and renovation. Wings running to the east and west were added with the interior of the church reoriented to the east and west with the pulpit now in the east. The principal entrance was moved to the southwest corner of the building with the erection of the present bell tower. The wing that was constructed to the west was moved to the southwest corner of the building with the erection of the present bell tower. The wing that was constructed to the west was much longer than the one was running to the east.
It was during this rebuilding that the stained glass windows were placed in the church building.
The expansion of the church to the west in 1904 necessitated moving the parsonage. It was moved 12 feet to the west by one James Hendrickson for the contracted price of $25. An addition was make to the parsonage at that time including a front porch.
In 1908 the church trustees purchased the lot directly to the north of the church building and in 1923 a new parsonage was built. I can find nothing in the church histories about what happened to the original parsonage building.
During 1954, the walls and ceiling of the church auditorium were redecorated and new lights were installed.
In the early 1960's another major expansion was make to the church building. A 3200 square foot, two story, educational wing, constructed of haydite block and bricks, was added to the west of the building. The main entrance was moved slightly to the west and it is now into this new addition.
In 1971-72 a new parsonage was built and the parsonage north of the church was sold.
In the late 1970's the wooden siding on the building was covered with vinyl siding. The new siding retained the appearance of the original siding but afforded a much more permanent covering.
So that is some of the history of the building which has set on the corner of block #11 in Grant City for the last 105 years.