CHANGES TO OUR CHURCH SANCTUARY BUILDING 1900 – 1923

In our previous post, we traced the changes to our church’s structure from 1856 until 1899.  As we think of those changes, we should remember that in 1888, Paxton’s membership numbered 37.

In 1900, Mrs. James Boyd gifted our east porch to the congregation (remember that the cabin is north of the church which may help you determine directions).    A postcard circa 1902 – 1905 shows the lonely church sanctuary building sitting alone in the woods with its brand new porch.  The pillars appear to be made of limestone that matches the building.  A circa 1923 postcard shows the pillars had been replaced with square wooden posts.

1905 was a big year for the church structure!   The partition on the east end was moved back to the first window which allowed the addition of two more rows of pews.  This was done because there was no longer the need for a large vestibule where supper tables were spread for Presbytery meetings.  In the past, the communion table would not have been left up in front of the pulpit.  MAYBE that was one of the supper tables.    At the same time, the church walls were refrescoed green, a green velvet carpet was laid, and electric lights were installed!  If you look in the hallway above the communion set, you will see a light fixture of that era.

Around the turn of the century, a Sunday School Movement arose in the country.  In 1905, in response to this movement, Mr. and Mrs. James Boyd donated a chapel building and a building that connects the church and the chapel.    A west window of the church was made into a door that led to a hallway (our current archives room where the communion set resides).  The hallway then moved into an annex.  The annex included a lavatory and session room (we call it our parlor today – it is the room with the large fireplace and enclosed book cases).    The annex was then connected to the new chapel building.

The chapel building was intended to be a copy of early Colonial architecture and used similar limestone as the church.  It was built to complement rather than overshadow the old church.   The chapel building had a wide center hall that went through the present-day library and stopped where the Great Room begins.  On the left side of the hallway (now the church offices), there was a large Sunday School room right inside the door and a primary Sunday School room beyond.  On the right side, there was a library, kitchen, and pantry.  The building was presented to the congregation on July 30, 1905.  In 1911, a bronze tablet was placed on the Chapel wall in honor of James and Louisa Boyd.

In 1912, a new stone chimney was built on the north side of the church and a new furnace installed at a total cost of three hundred eleven dollars paid for by the James Boyd Men’s Bible Class.

In 1923, a large auditorium was added.  On either side of the auditorium, there were five cubicles for classes.  This addition allowed for a basement for storage and a recreational area (this is now our Fellowship Hall and kitchen).  Opening to the west of the auditorium, were rooms for the Sunday School Primary Department.  At that time, the total Sunday School enrollment was 324.   A postcard shows us what the complex looked like at that time.

Next month, we will discuss the renovations made in 1931 that changed our sanctuary to what we see today.

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