The History of Richland Church
The Richland Church has a long history of presence in the community. Much of the material here is based on the 100th Anniversary Celebration booklet from September 7, 2000. There was also a homecoming held October 25, 1998.
Establishing the Church
Back in the late eighteen hundreds, the citizens of the community known then as the White Hall Settlement, now Mechanicsburg (1950) on Richland Avenue, began to plan for a church society.
To make possible a church, the neighbors organized what they called the Mite society. Among this group of early settlers were the Ackleys, Blackburns, Clarks, Higgins, Pickerings, Bowers and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Brown. They met several times a month to bring in their money. In the summer months they held ice cream socials, and in the winter, oyster suppers, to help boost the fund.
Eventually the time came when it was possible for the society to erect a church. Hiram Baker purchased a lot which was part of the Coate's farm, from Mrs. Rosa Coate and Hiram Baker in turn sold it to Wright's Chapel, as our present church was then called.
Wright's Chapel was built in 1900, and named for their first pastor, Rev. Wright who previously was a member of Union Church. Later the name was changed. The original building was frame built.
James Dixon, George Hooper and Benjamin Love were the first class leaders. Mrs. Thomas Cabeen, formerly Miss Kate Clark, was first Treasurer. Her grandfather was the founder of Clarks M.E. Chapel.
Other members names of the original church not mentioned were Rachel Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Gardner Bellows, Carrie Hummell and Ray Brown.
Building the Current Church
- Sold Richland Avenue Church to Galbraith Associates for $65,000. The OU Inn was built on the site of the original church.
- Parsonage on 7 Hooper St. was sold for $10,000 to Carl Clifford.
- Feb 17, 1963 - started having combined services at the Clark's Chapel Church.
- The old church was completely torn down on March 15, 1963.
- Bought the land for the new Richland church from Paul Burson on Pomeroy Road for $20,000.
- Building Committee for new church was Fred Dixon, Arthur Brooks, Clyde Bronson, Karl Rose, Gene Clyse, Bob Matthewson, Treasurer.
- Finance Committee was Orin Secoy, Don Collins, Bernard Cuckler, Clarence Warner, Charles Norris, Tom Chesser, Martha Jones, Virginia Jones, Gladys Gaver.
- In October, 1963 architect's plans were received from Damon-Worley and Associates, Youngstown, Ohio.
- Bids were received on Friday Nov. 1, 1963 at the Parsonage.
- Van Horn Construction Co. had the lowest bid ($132,000), which was accepted by the church.
- The ground breaking service for the Richland Methodist Church at Pomeroy Road was on Sunday, Dec. 23, 1963.
- Last service for Richland in Clark's Chapel was Sunday, Dec. 13, 1964.
- Conrnerstone Laying Ceremony was on Sept. 13, 1964.
- In May, 1967, the McAfee house on Richland Ave. was purchased from the City of Athens for a bid of $1,026. A lot was purchased on Pomeroy Road from Doris (Burson) Ferry for $2,000. The McAfee house was then moved to the Pomeroy Road location and used as a Parsonage.
- Wright (first minister)
- Cartwright (became Missionary to Africa)
- Herman Secoy (while an OU Student)
- Genheimer (became a Missionary to Africa)
- Herman Baughn
- Immelt (may have been 10th)
- McGee (may have been 9th)
- Herbert Lockwood
- Dale Baumgardner
- Howard Gosnell
- Name Unknown
- Earl Bowser
- Don Saum (longest stay - 8 years)
- Danny Dahl
- Tom Sager
- Frank Crowfoot
- Ken Macklin
- Randy Lowe
- J. Brian McGarvey
- Norman Coleman
- Lee Ortman(2004-2010)
- Karen Crawford (2010-)