Paxton Builds an Education Wing

After World War II, when our service men and women returned home, the “Baby Boom” went into full swing. Housing developments and school districts throughout the country conducted major building projects to keep up. These men and women coming back from war or working on the home front were used to “being part of it.” After the war, that concept of “joining in” continued. Churches, service organizations, fraternal groups, and other organizations flourished with large numbers of young, willing workers. By the early 1960’s, Paxton’s membership counted nearly 1,000 with many young families and their children who led to Sunday school enrollment reaching an all-time high.

In March 1959, an Easter appeal was sent out asking for a “generous offering” to connect the church to the Borough Sewer System, install a sidewalk on Sharon Street, and bring in a better hot water supply. The 1960 Easter letter expanded the earlier appeal saying “the plans are now on the architect’s drawing board…. Hope to submit them to the congregation…in a month or so. “ This meeting was held on September 13th, 1960. In April 1961, a letter with a brochure was sent out explaining why the new addition and other improvements were needed, what areas would be improved, and a giving goal of 3% of family income. The brochure ended with “Your church is in your hands.”

Architect William Lynch Murray developed plans for an addition of an education wing to appropriately house classes that were, at the time, meeting in corners of rooms. The chairman of the Building Steering Committee, Thomas W. Holtzman and Trustee President James W. Reynolds represented Paxton in the planning and construction. On March 15, 1964, work began on a two-story structure that included eight classrooms, a large assembly room, church offices, bathrooms, a new furnace, connection to the borough sewer system, and a modernized church kitchen. A Church Bell was installed in the Educational Wing tower as a gift from the Primary Depart of the Sunday School. A small compact kitchen was also installed outside of our current Great Room. William S. Miller, Jr acted as the General Contractor to coordinate the construction.

The structure was dedicated on October 25, 1964, with Rev. Morton Glise leading. By the time the keys were presented to the construction principals, the cost of this addition was nearly $250,000. Half ($125,000) was raised on pledges and contributions. The other half was a mortgage of $125,000 had been secured which was to be repaid in 15 years. In a letter by Hank Yongsma, on May 12, 1970, the congregation was informed that the mortgage was satisfied on April 29, 1970, and a mortgage burning ceremony was held on May 17 th.

Then, just as with our most recent mortgage, the church was in our hands – and the congregation forcefully responded.