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Archwood Congregational Church

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Archwood Congregational Church (pre-1896)
Archwood Congregational Church (pre-1896)
Address: Archwood Congregational Church
2800 Archwood Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio
Affiliation: Presbyterian
Organized: July 25, 1819
Neighborhood: Archwood / W.25th St.



Originally organized in 1819 by missionaries of the Presbyterian Church, on Newburgh St. (later known as Denison Avenue). In 1834, it was organized as the First Congregational Church.

"A town meetinghouse and members' homes were used for services until a building reportedly was built near the corner of W. 25th St. and Willowdale Ave., in use by 1830. The BROOKLYN congregation finally chose between the denominations and in 1831 incorporated as the First Congregational Society of Brooklyn. In 1851 the frame building was moved to the corner of Liberty (W. 33rd) and Newburgh (Denison Ave.) streets. In 1879 a new brick building of Late Gothic style was built on the north side of Greenwood (Archwood) Ave. Outgrown and in disrepair by the 1920s, a new building, designed by Daniel Farnham in the Colonial Revival style, was dedicated on the site in 1929."

--Encyclopedia of Cleveland

AKA - Archwood United Church of Christ
The church sanctuary was designed by Daniel H. Farnam in 1929.


18?? - Deacon James Sears
1856-1867 - John B. Allen
1867-1868 - W.H. Rice
1868-1872 - C.L. Hamlin
1872-1874 - J.A. Bates
1874-1877 - E.H. Votaw
1878-1882 - J.W. Hargrave
1882-1889 - J.M. Merrill
1890-1893 - George H. Peeke
1894-???? - J.W. Hargrave (again)
1899-???? - F.E. Bigelow
1917-1923 - Dr. Robert B. Blyth
1923-???? - Lawrie Judson Sharp
1987, 1988 - Helen L. Greer (Penny?)
1991 - Tom Porter, Interim Minister
1992 - Rev. Bradford D. Harmon (scheduled to start Jan 2nd, 1992)
1994 - Rev. David Bahr


The following personal recollections were transcribed in 2010 from photocopied handwritten pages originally written in 1934. In many places the text is so light that it is difficult to read. Where a word was not possible to interpret, underlines have been inserted.

  • Notes in brackets are by the transcriber Sandra (Wanicki) Rozhon.
  • Notes in parenthesis are as they appeared on the photocopies themselves.

  • Memories of Ganyard and Holmden
Received from Mrs. Ganyard about Sept. 31, 1934
Notes by her mother Mrs. Holmden.
[Mrs. Ganyard is Martha Philema Holmden Ganyard, daughter of Charles Walter Holmden and Electa Jane Edgerton.]

In 1868 members of choir included Lidia [sic] Brainard, Emma Brainard, Zetta Brainard. (three sisters)

Rev. Hamblin married Mary Wells.

Church situated on Denison Ave. corner of W.33rd St. (Northwest corner.)

Buggy sheds on west side of Church.

Vestibule in Front, choir next to vestibule, organ in center, Minister at north end of Church.

Rev. Allen preached, he was a Presbyterian Minister.

Nov. 8, 1934
Visit to Mrs. Ganyards. Mrs. Holmden and Maude were present. [Maude is daughter of Charles Walter Holmden and Electa Jane Edgerton.]

Came back from Penn. in 1883. Joined Ladies Social Union 1886. Mrs. Turner was president of the Ladies Society at this time, and she stressed every member should pray for one minute before they left home for the meeting.

Lydia Brainard was a leader of the Waste Not Missionary society, Rev. Merrill's Wife and Mrs. Holmden were also active leaders.

Mrs. Holmden was Superintendent about 1894. Members about 10 to 12 years of age. After being formed for quite a while, The Waste Nots developed into the Junior Christian Endeavor Society.

Members: I cannot remember them all and I may be wrong on some; Ray Hyer ?, Rex Hyer, Dela and Eno Holmden, Otto Rehburg, Dan Farnam, Julia Maybe, Iverdel Laird, Stuart Cook, Peck, Nettie Melvin (Burr), Emma, Oscar, Ella, Nellie and Ida Kroehle, Harry Marsh and (Wife) May Peck, and twins Cora (married Melvin) and Dora (married Prouty), Edith and Ella Prouty, Paul Kroehle, George Cheney.

About 1908 Archwood had an organized Sunday School class called the Archwood Bible Conference or Congress. They wore pins with A.B.C. on them. (Archwood Bible Congress.)

Milton Neff was the leader, and they held the discussion form of meetings.

The Japanese Tea held at the home of Rev. Lewis was a great success. We sat on the floor and were served tea and rice cakes. Some were in costume.

The Senior C.E. Society had a social depicting aliens entering the country, all were dressed in costume. Each one was examined before being admitted.

The Waste Not Society had a convention or general meeting down town. We had badges on, and went in a group to attend the Missionary convention.

Mr. Peake gave stirring sermons. He started the Junior Sermons, he gave each child a little book, in which each one had to write the title or topic of the talk, and what they had learned. Mr. Holmden thought that he was our best pastor.

Mrs. Lewis was the most friendly of all our Pastor's wives.

Visited ______ ______ ______[text on Xeroxed copy too light to read]. Our Parsonage on _______ St. built in 1874 by Ozias Fish and Lorenzo Fish (brothers). (Ozias Fish was the father of Dwight.)

O.D. Fisher a student at Oberlin, worked all summer at Church, and in the fall when they selected a pastor they chose E.H. Votaw (instead of the student) and he came from Collinwood the next spring and stayed 3 years.

Hargrave was next pastor. Built near Church on Greenwood St.

James Sears was called Uncle Jimmy. Abel Hinckley was called Uncle Abel. And Hiram Welch was called Uncle Hiram. (Hiram has been dead 41 years now)

Sears was practically blind, but was very ____ and insisted on finding his own seat. (by putting his hand on each pew and counting them until he came to his own.)

Deacon Hinckley deaf - one time he told Hargrave to talk louder, and was complimented on the good sermon he presented and asked to keep after Hargrave to talk louder. (he preached the sermon when he talked louder, maybe had to when people could hear what he said.)

J. C. Allen being the old server.

W.C. [no surname written] at his funeral. He wrote a sermon every week until a short time before his death. Every week during the pastorate of Rev. Merrill (a fine young man just out of College), Allen had the pastoral prayer every Sunday Morning (everybody expected him to give it) and Merrill only had the short prayer during the opening service. Every week Rev. Allen & Merrill would meet to discuss the Sunday Sermon. Allen an old man with staid ideas and Merrill a young man with enthusiasm & power. Allen said "Maybe he's right, I don't know" (of course he did not always agree with he young man).

Belfrey in old Church full of bats at one time, and had a hard time getting them out. Bill Beezer, his son, Dr. Leverett Pelton, his brother Fred (died 1886) and Wilbur [?] took bell out of old Church and put it up in the belfrey of the new Church. Quite a task and took all day. (Beezer knew something of this kind of work).

Both Congregational and Methodist Church had a custom of _____ [word does not look like "ringing" - perhaps it is "tolling"?] the Church bell when anyone died. If you know the age of the person sick you could tell who had died. One stroke for each year.

One night when Allen _______ _____ for Rev. Merrill he knocked the lamp from the pulpit onto the floor, causing some commotion. (Had to have lamp to read notes for Sermon.)

Rev. Lewis, E_____ Blake & Tappi Wilbur [could be Wilton] were committee who bought the organ from Steer Organ Co. Cost about $2,750. Carrie Love bought organ after hearing this. W.B. Cob___ of Old Stone Church gave recital to dedicate organ. (went to Presley [??] ____ __ in Springfield. Pastor McKeeney [??] put all stops on, did not sound good no sale (Steer organ).

Chaderick name of Salesman. What do you want, where is there an organ you want, at Trinity Cathedral. I can furnish you one. See it at Schenetady, N.Y. (too much for trip $50.00 take money and give us extra pipe) Will house all D.K. got extra pipe free.

Saw Estey organ at Pittsburgh N.G. _____ Ave. Methodist (1 other organ) had paper _____ and ___ ____. Afraid to order from them. Barlett tuned organ, Frank Steer put up organ.

One Sunday dust in valves, all let go and such a din.

Recommended Hope Jones, Trenton N.J., an Englishman, but he would not build such a small organ.

Clemens of N.R.U. saw and used organ. Bought mostly on advice of Clemen's and Colson

Some pipes 16 ft. long. -- 12 x 14 inchies in size -- 16 ft + makes long pipes 17 1/2 ft long. Wilbur led there 1886 or 7 to 1913. Married [??] 1890.

Fred Heavens Chorister
Dr. Farnsworth.
Dr. Mead choir leader.

Wilbur created [??] S.S. Supt at one time while _____ was there -- was choir director --

Choice between two Lewis said keep Choir Director but did as assistant Supt at other times.

Carlos L. Jones (of Jones Home) said he would give $1000.00 if they would move farther north. One reason why Church was moved to Archwood Ave.

Dr. Mead Director of Boy's Choir. Wilbur sang Alto.

Members of Choir:

Albert Allen [??]
Calvin Allen [??]
Mrs. Abbey
Mrs. Goswell
Mrs. Mead
Mrs. Brainard
Eben Fish
Miss Chester Miss Ella Schmitt - our best soprano (Married Mallo's son)

June 7, 1934
By Mrs H____ ______

Tour of the world

A Enjoyable and profitable time was had by all and took advantage of the Tour of the World as is under the auspices of the Ladies Social Union of Archwood Ave. Congregational Church on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Oct 8th and 9th 1901.

Transportation tickets, passports and guides could be seen at the General Passenger Agency, Archwood Church. The countries to be visited included America, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The _______ _____ was at the residence of Charles Kroehle.

Famous characters in costumes:

George WashingtonGeo. S. Kain
Martha Washington Mrs. F.H. Snow

[Note: Following those two, there is a long list of characters and protrayers but most are unreadable. Those surnames that can be read include Kain, Snow, Kroehle, Collins, Foster, Prouty, Monks, Lewis, Loomis, and Aiken. The following pages list characters and protrayers for various other countries ie. Germany, Italy and the Roman period, and Japan. Also a description of the general size and contents of the "program sheet" and "passport" which was 3 1/2" x 5 5/8". The afore mentioned pages have not been included here. ]

[Text For the Passport]

Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.
Good for One
First-Class Passage Round the World
On Oct. 8 and 9, 1901

[Text For the Ticket]

To Whom it May Concern
Be it known that all having paid the sum of Twenty Five Cents in current coin of the realm is hereby guaranteed our protection while trading in the Foreign Countries.

Foreign Countries are Requested to Extend Courtesies to all Tourists.

This Ticket Void after 12 P.M. Oct 9, 1901

J. B. Conner, General Ticket Agent

Ladies Social Union, Archwood Ave. Congregational Church.

[Additional pages are handwritten transcriptions of a concert program circa 1889 held at the Congregational Church. The text seems meant to be like something written in the middle ages.]


Publishmente of
Olde Forbes Concertte
at Ye Congregational Church
on Ye VIII day of Ye II Month (we use February) in the yere of our Lord MDCCCLXXXIX

Ye goode people will be greeted with kindlee courtesie bye courtlie menne and fayre laydies. Ye singynge will begin atte 7+30 wh isse after earlye candelle-lightynge.

Take good heede oto be there with youre tickette and youre familie and bring youre ________. Ye Laddies bringe youre Lassies.

Prysented at Browns Pryntince Shoppe

[Page 2]

Grette Singynge Concertte

[What follows seems to be a list of songs and singers, the latter presumably made up names just for fun. None of the names are familiar or known to be from Brooklyn Centre area.]

[Note at the bottom of the 2nd page]

Dont Forget the Old Folks - All ye Men and Women Singers. N.B. Foreasmuch as ye women singers are shamefaced, ye younge menne will look away when they sing. Ye singers will bring candelle and tune books - and slippery elm for ye voice.

Sat. Dec 2, 1893
The News & Hearald
From Mrs T.E. Monks

Rev. John B. Allen Dead.

A Former Paster of the Brooklyn Village Congregational Church Passes to his Long Rest -- A Brief Sketch of his LIfe.

Rev. John B. Allen died at his home, No. 12 Mill St., Brooklyn Village, yesterday morning, after an illness of seven weeks. his sickness was characterized by extreme suffering, but he passed quietly and peacefully to his rest. His wife and children were with him when he passed away. His son, Sumner Allen, a resident of Chicago, and his daughter, Mrs. Forbes the wife of Prof. Forbes, for many years connected with the Cleveland Public Schools, and also a resident of Chicago, we called to Cleveland on account of the sickness of their father, and together with Mrs Allen and Mrs. Monks, the youngest daugher, attended upon him constantly.

In the death of Rev. Mr. Allen the community has suffered a severe loss. Mr. Allen was born at Sturbridge, Mass. in the year 1813. He was graduated from Union College in the class of 1840, and was honor man in a class of more than one hundred students. After completing his college course he spent one year at Union Theological Seminary, after which he went to East Windsor, Conn. completing his theological studies at the seminary two years later. He was ordained to the ministry and entered upon his life work as pastor of a small Presbyterian Church at Covington, Pa. He was called to the Brooklyn Village Congregational Church in 1856 and served them Continuously for eleven years. Though Mr. Allen had other pastorates it is in connection with his work in Brooklyn Village that he will be remembered the longest. He was a man of strong character, and yet singularly modest. Others rated his attainments much higher than he did himself. He lived a busy and unselfish life.

The funeral will be held from his late home on Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock. The interment will be at Riverside cemetery.

[Notes on lower part of page]

Have been told very gentle, amiable, loyal, caring for others, sympathetic.

T.E. Monks -
Never knew another so gentle, earnest, loving and so good a man as he, it was a benediction to know him.

Mrs. T.E. Monks -
Remembers going to Church at Brooklyn and other places. Had Brooklyn, Powder Mill, and Rocky River at some time, caught cold going to Rocky River to conduct funeral.

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