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First Presbyterian Church

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First United Presbyterian Church. This first church was constructed in 1849-1850 on a lot donated by James Heaton on the southwest corner of North Main and Church Streets.

First United Presbyterian Church. This first church was constructed in 1849-1850 on a lot donated by James Heaton on the southwest corner of North Main and Church Streets. The plan of the church was colonial in effect and had two front entrances facing Main St. The pulpit was located between the two front doors and floor sloped upward to the rear of the church. In the mid 1860's the interior was remodeled and the pulpit moved to the rear of the sanctuary. PO1.363

The second meeting place of the First Presbyterian Church.

The second meeting place of the First Presbyterian Church. This account was taken from the church history published in 1939.

Mrs. Maria Kyle, a venerable resident of Niles for eighty years, who served as a teacher in the little brick school building, which stood on the site just in the rear of the present church, recalled that services were held in the school building as late as 1849, when, she believed, the church building was started.” PO1.362

1834 Heaton Village map showing platting of lots. The original First Presbyterian Church was built on the plat set aside for the village public school. PO1.652

First Presbyterian Church, organized in 1839, this building was constructed in 1892 at a cost of $12,000.00.

First Presbyterian Church, organized in 1839, this building was constructed in 1892 at a cost of $12,000.00. It was an imposing red brick structure.

Picture of the west side of North Main Street to West Park Avenue before the construction of the McKinley Memorial.

Picture of the west side of North Main Street to West Park Avenue before the construction of the McKinley Memorial. The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1892 and torn down in 1957. PO1.365

First Presbyterian Church.

The Presbyterian denomination came to the Northwest Territory, of which Niles is a part, by a large number of men and women of Scotch-Irish descent, fleeing from persecution in Northern Ireland.

In 1839, learning of their wish to form a church in Niles, Eben Blachly offered the use of his home for meetings. This building was also a boarding school and still stands on Vienna Avenue. As the population of the town increased the congregation began to plan to erect a building. In August of 1843, Mrs. Eliza Heaton, daughter-in-law of James Heaton, was received into membership and Session minutes record the gift of land from him for the new church. The location gave the first Presbyterian Church a prominent location in the center of the community.

Construction of the building began, using timbers from local forests, while other materials were brought in by canal boats. It is said that as many as 75 of these passed through Niles in a day. It was on the tow path for this canal that James Garfield drove his team of mules, passing through Niles on each trip.

The congregation continued to grow and by 1889 plans were being made for a new building. The contract entered into in 1892 listed the cost at $8,400, with the old building to be moved to a lot behind Robbins Avenue Lumber Company. The new building was dedicated on September 4, 1892.

It is interesting to note that in July, 1911, permission was granted by the session to the Lutheran congregation to use the church auditorium two Sundays each month until they were able to secure a permanent place to worship. During this same time a similar arrangement was made with the Hungarian congregation until they could organize their church and Sunday school.

In the 1950s there was much new church construction in Niles. With a membership of over a thousand, a larger building was needed and in 1957, on land given by Mrs. C. Homer Rose, that the new building on Robbins Avenue opened its doors.

It is part of the history of the church that many of the founders of the town and those who are part of its history through the years have been members of this congregation,

Submitted by Anne Townley

Congregation Says Farewell to Niles Presbyterian Church.

Aug 31, 2020
Bob Coupland
Reportbcoupland@tribtoday.com

NILES — Canfield resident Kim Lisowski, who grew up in Niles, said three generations of her family attended the First Presbyterian Church of Niles, so it was bittersweet that she and her parents, Tom and Janice Semple of Niles, would all be there together for the final service at the church building Sunday evening. More than 50 people, including former members and people from other area Presbyterian churches, gathered Sunday for the final service at the church. The congregation voted in June to dissolve and officials are in the process of selling the building.

The Rev. Rusty Cowden, retired minister from Warren Presbyterian Church, led the final worship. “Tonight we are honoring, celebrating and remembering the church and the many people who have worshiped and served here. We are saying goodbye to this wonderful building” he said.

Cowden said the previous Presbyterian church was located in downtown Niles. The congregation, which was growing in number, saw a need for a new building and moved to the current site off Robbins Avenue in the late 1950s. “They built this magnificent church building, which is a half block long with the large tower and sanctuary and the stained glass windows,” he said. Cowden said before the service, he walked the grounds and saw the patio area with the fountain and gardens. He said members will always have memories of the music by the choir and organist, the sermons, the dinners and the many programs.

The final song the congregation sang before the benediction was “Amazing Grace.”
Following the service was a small reception with refreshments and a table set up with photo albums and other memorabilia of the church.

David Snyder, chairman of the board of elders, said church officials are in talks with a potential buyer. He said members are planning to transfer to other Presbyterian churches in Warren and Mineral Ridge.

Anne Townley, a longtime member from Niles, said she remembers when the church had so many people in attendance that folding chairs had to be put up in the aisles since the pews were filled to capacity.

“There were hundreds of people here. The parking lot was filled and other cars were parked on Robbins Avenue and other streets. There were so many people here the fire chief, who was a member, was worried since we lit candles on Christmas Eve,” Townley said.

She said being able to be at the last service was wonderful for her.
“The more things change, the more they really stay the same,” she said of seeing many familiar faces at the service that she remembered from years past.

Townley and her late husband James moved to their home in 1956 across the street from the church and first attended the former church before the new church was built in 1958.

Townley said the church’s women’s association was very active in the church, the community and with mission work. The women also each week served the Niles Rotary Club members lunch at their meetings at the church.

She said the church dinners, including the popular annual pork and sauerkraut dinner held each fall, often had more than 300 people attending, which she said also worried the fire chief.

David Paulik of Cincinnati, formerly of Niles and a past member, said it was the church he started attending as boy that eventually led to him entering the ministry.

“The first church I preached at was here. My earliest memories of the church was when I was on the school bus and we drove by and I saw the huge church tower and wondered about the church so one Sunday I rode my bike here. I was welcomed that Sunday, which was a family day, with lunch and activities. I am forever grateful to this church,” Paulik said.

He said he will always remember a sign at the one corner of the church that says “Enter to Worship. Leave to Serve.”

Tom Semple of Niles said his mother was the one who brought he and his siblings to church faithfully. Later, he and his wife, Janice, did with their own children.

“The church has been a wonderful place for us. The choir is fantastic. It is hard to believe that the church is closing. It hurts,” he said.

Niles resident Al Latil said, “Diane Yazvac of Boardman has served the congregation for 30 years as organist, often accompanied by her husband Thomas and their three daughters as singers and instrumentalists”. He said the music made the church popular to those who enjoyed attending choir concerts.



A 1976 photograph of the Eben Blachley house located at 1010 Vienna Aveenue and believed to be the oldest existing brick house in Niles.

A 1976 photograph of the Eben Blachley house located at 1010 Vienna Aveenue and believed to be the oldest existing brick house in Niles. PO1.458

It was also used as a meeting house by the Presbyterians after they organized in 1839.

A photo of the Eben Blachley House, believed to be the oldest existing brick house in Niles.

A photo of the Eben Blachley House, believed to be the oldest existing brick house in Niles. It was a boarding school run by Dr. Blachley and his daughters, students came from as far away as Pittsburgh by water. PO1.459

A 1937 photograph taken of the Eben Blachley house, believed to be the oldest existing brick house in Niles. It is listed on the 1834 tax duplicate of Trumbull County. PO1. 463


First United Presbyterian Church. In the mid 1920's the steeple was removed, leaving just the bell tower. It had become unsound and the slate that covered it was falling off.

First United Presbyterian Church. In the mid 1920's the steeple was removed, leaving just the bell tower. It had become unsound and the slate that covered it was falling off. PO1.367

First United Presbyterian Church.

First United Presbyterian Church.
PO1.366

First United Presbyterian Church.

First United Presbyterian Church.
PO2.303


A view of the First Presbyterian Church in its original location on the corner of Church and Main Streets shortly before it would be razed and land donated to the McKinley Memorial Association.

A view of the First Presbyterian Church in its original location on the corner of Church and Main Streets shortly before it would be razed and land donated to the McKinley Memorial Association. The McKinley Memorial is almost obscured behind it. PO1.1670

Interior view of the Niles First Presbyterian Church when it was located downtown.

Above: Interior view of the Niles First Presbyterian Church when it was located downtown. PO1.1974

Right: A photo of the interior of the old First Presbyterian Church located on the corner of Main and Church Streets. The rose window from the inside and curved seats. PO2.739

A photo of the interior of the old First Presbyterian Church located on the corner of Main and Church Streets. The rose window from the inside and curved seats.

Close-up of the 1834 Heaton Village map shows the platting of lots along North Main Street and James Street(now Park Avenue).

Left: Close-up of the 1834 Heaton Village map shows the platting of lots along North Main Street and James Street(now Park Avenue). The top plat is marked as School and Public Land.

The original First Presbyterian Church was built at the corner of North Main Street and what would become Church Street on the plat set aside for the village public school. PO1.652

Right: View of the back of the First Presbyterian Church where the original 'Little white school house' was built.

This property is now part of the McKinley Memorial grounds.


First Presbyterian Church Dedicated in 1957. S11.105

Robbins Avenue First Presbyterian Church

Annie Rose donated the land for the Presbyterian Church on Robbins Avenue and the Methodist Church on Crandon. She belonged to the Presbyterian Church, so they had first choice.

The new Methodist Church at the top of Crandon was dedicated in May, 1956. The new Presbyterian Church on Robbins Avenue was dedicated in 1957.

It is said that, “she wanted her church to be on Robbins Avenue across from her house so she could look out her window and see the church she attended”.


First Presbyterian Church Dedicated in 1957

Interior view

Interior view

Present First Presbyterian Church located on the corner of Robbins Avenue and Summit Steet across from the Harry Stevens house.

Present First Presbyterian Church located on the corner of Robbins Avenue and Summit Steet across from the Harry Stevens house.

In 1957 a complete new church with educational and office facilities was built at the top of the hill on Robbins Avenue.

Upon completion of the new building, the old church was razed and the site became part of the Memorial grounds.

Middle: The patio area with the fountain and gardens. PO1.368


Photo of the original frame building of the Methodist Church located on Arlington Street in Niles, it was built in 1871 and destroyed by fire in 1883.

Photo of the original frame building of the Methodist Church located on Arlington Street in Niles, it was built in 1871 and destroyed by fire in 1883. PO1.354

Photo taken of the First United Methodist Church located on the corner of Arlington and West Park directly across from St. Stephen's Church. This church was dedicated in 1908 and burned down in 1951, at which time a new church was built on Crandon Ave.

Photo taken of the First United Methodist Church located on the corner of Arlington and West Park directly across from St. Stephen's Church. This church was dedicated in 1908 and burned down in 1951, at which time a new church was built on Crandon Ave. PO1.356

Photo of the old Methodist church which was located at the corner of Arlington and W. Park Ave. before it burned down in 1951.

Photo of the old Methodist church which was located at the corner of Arlington and W. Park Ave. before it burned down in 1951. PO1.358


     

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