Baldwin Methodist Church Buildings
1. The first meeting to organize a church in Baldwin occurred on 22 July 1855 at the log cabin of Henry Barricklow. It was located just east of present location of Signal Oak Park. Started in 1855
2. From 1855 to about 1858, services were held in individual cabins of the settlers. Circuit riders provided the ministerial leadership. 1858-1858 (3 Years)

3. A new building on Baker campus was in use for services by Nov. 1858. It is now known as "Old Castle". Church services were held there from 1858 to 1868. The original building was 2-story, 24 by 40 with flat roof and belfry, and cost $3,250 plus much volunteer labor. Within a year or so, the Masonic Lodge built the third story in exchange for its use as a meeting place.


It is interesting to note that the building was not built on the Baker campus, as the campus was to be reserved for more permanent buildings.

1858-1868 (10 Years)
4. The first meeting held to discuss a dedicated church building was April 26, 1862, but not until June 1864 were the lots purchased on which the stone church was later built. A building committee was appointed in April 1865, but nothing was accomplished. On Jan. 4, 1868, S. Weeks and C. B. Beeks were appointed as a building committee and got things moving. After raising $500 they became discouraged and the responsibility was delegated to the Ladies Sewing Circle. A new stone church building was started Aug. 3, 1868, on the north side of Baker campus. The building cost about $3,000 with total value of about $10,000 furnished. At the time it was finished, it was one of the largest and most substantial structures in Kansas. This building continued as the church until about 1885 when membership had grown to require more space.

The building is still in use today as Pulliam Communication Center, just N.W. of the Baker Student Union. During its existence, it has served as dormitory, music center, and other functions.
1868-1885 (17 Years)
5. Centenary Hall on Baker campus served as the Methodist Episcopal (M. E.) Church from 1885 to 1904. The building name was in honor of the centennial of the original founding of the M. E. church in the U.S. Centenary Hall chapel had "church like" windows and could seat 1,000 persons. During the week the building was used for Baker classrooms. It was located in the vicinity of where the Chapel is presently located. On Oct. 29, 1898, the subject of enlarging the stone church was seriously discussed. On Dec. 6, 1898, it was decided to try to build the new brick church off the campus.

Due to structural deficiencies, Centenary Hall could not be saved and demolition was started the week of Aug. 20, 1964.
1885-1904 (19 Years)
6. A new brick church was completed at the corner of 8th and Grove in 1904. It was built by Baldwin contractor and church member, J. W. Spurgeon, who also built many of the fine homes of Baldwin. The contract cost was $13,150 dated April 19, 1901. The cornerstone was laid June 4, 1901, dedication on Feb. 14, 1904. Estimated value with basement completed and pipe organ installed was about $30,000 which was the amount of insurance carried. The 75th Diamond Jubilee of the church was held Oct. 4, 5 & 6, 1930. A fire on Nov. 30, 1930 totally destroyed the building. The newspaper account indicated the cause was either an overheated furnace or a faulty ventilator in the flue. 1904-1930 (26 Years)
7. The congregation returned to Centenary Hall for most S.S. and church services until rebuilding of the church was completed. 1930-1932 (2 Years)
8. The present stone structure was first occupied in 1932, during the depression. The building committee visited 17 churches for ideas for the new building. They included churches in Lawrence, Independence (KS), Kansas City, Emporia, Hutchinson, and four in Chicago. The cornerstone was laid Aug. 16, 1931. The total contractor costs were about $85,000. The insurance paid $30,000, so there was a lot of funds to be raised at a time when money was very tight. Pledges of $30,000 and a $10,000 loan from Board of Missions left the balance to be borrowed. The contractor was Maxwell & McBride of Topeka. The sanctuary "Gothic Lantern" light fixtures cost $100 each. There were 21 stained glass windows, including the large one above the choir, that cost a total of $2,000 from Jacoby Art Glass Co. These seem like bargains, but during the depression, the factories were happy to have the business. The loans were paid by May 26, 1946 when a dedication of the building was held.

During the past five years, modifications to the building have included installation of an elevator, air conditioning of the sanctuary and upgrade to the sanctuary lighting. Beeks Chapel has been revised to allow "folding door "access from the Narthex. This permits it to be open during church services, but can still be used as a chapel. With the new chairs, it is also more comfortably used for an adult Sunday School class.
1932-2005 (73 Years)
 
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