Author Topic: Youngstown's Oldest Church - Will It Be Preserved?  (Read 1986 times)

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Offline jay

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Youngstown's Oldest Church - Will It Be Preserved?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2001, 05:23:38 AM »
Youngstown's Oldest Church
Will It Be Preserved?

The photographs below were taken in the fall of 2001 and show the current condition of the former Welsh Congregational Church located at 220 Elm Street in Youngstown.  Please view the historical timeline at the bottom of this article.

This is the former Welsh Congregational Church as viewed from Elm Street.

This is the south side of the church.  Notice the fire damage near the window.
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Historical Timeline of the Welsh Congregational Church

As with most things, it is helpful to understand the history of this church in order to appreciate its value.  Therefore, a brief background is provided in the following timeline.

Welsh immigrants settled in the Mahoning Valley and played a vital role in the Valley's industrial development.  Skilled specifically in areas of construction, they were instrumental in building the first mills and blast furnaces.

Welsh immigrants formed the Welsh Congregational Church and eventually constructed their first building at 220 Elm Street in 1861.  The original wood structure was executed in the Greek Revival style, popular from the 1820's through the 1860's.

The Welsh Congregationalists remodeled the original church in the then popular Queen Anne style.  Though the main body of the church was essentially maintained, the front of the structure was dramatically altered with the additions of a new lobby and belfry.  Most of the elaborate details and materials on the exterior and interior that exist today date from this remodeling.

The Church underwent further structural and functional alterations during the 1910's through 1920's.  These included a reworking of the foundation as well as the addition of a anteroom and basement stair along the side of the front lobby.

Due to a decline in membership, the Welsh Congregational Church decided to merge with another local church.  As a result, the congregation sold the structure and property at 220 Elm Street in 1976 to the Messiah Holiness Church of God in Christ, led by the Reverend Andrew Redmond.

For over twenty years the Messiah Holiness Church of God in Christ has utilized this historic structure as a place of worship.  Due to the dedication and faith of Reverend Redmond and his congregation, this church has not suffered the sad fate of abandonment and disuse that many of Youngstown's churches have undergone.  Instead it has remained a vital part of the community, actively used as it was intended, as a house of worship.

On October 4, 1997, the Messiah Holiness Church caught on fire.  Though the damage is severe, it is limited to a relatively small portion of the church due to the careful efforts of the City of Youngstown Fire Department.

The majority of the structure is left intact; and though it is feasible to restore, the Reverend Redmond and his congregation face the difficulty of having no insurance coverage or other resources to rebuild their church.

If Youngstown's oldest church is to survive and be restored, major support is needed from individuals and community organizations.  If you are able to help in any way with time, talent, or financial contributions, please contact Norma Stefanik at (330)742-3493 or email