First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon

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First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon is located in Michigan
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon
Location 60041 Vermont St., Pokagon Township, Michigan
Coordinates 41°54′43″N 86°10′26″W / 41.91194°N 86.17389°W / 41.91194; -86.17389Coordinates: 41°54′43″N 86°10′26″W / 41.91194°N 86.17389°W / 41.91194; -86.17389
Area less than one acre
Built 1862 (1862)
Architectural style Late Victorian
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 02000295[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 1, 2002
Designated MSHS January 20, 2000[2]

The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon (also known as the Old Rugged Cross Church) is a historic church at 60041 Vermont Street in Pokagon Township, Michigan. It is the location of the first performance of the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross." The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.[1]

History[edit]

Methodist circuit-riders began holding religious services in Pokagon Township in the 1830s.[2] In 1840, a class was organized in Sumnerville. Eventually, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon was organized.

In approximately 1862, this building was constructed as a hop barn.[3] In 1876, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon purchased the building and enlarged and remodeled it into a church. A belfry (now gone) was added, as were pointed-head windows, stained glass, and interior pews.[2]

In 1913, the church's pastor Rev. Leroy Bostwick invited his friend. the Rev. George Bennard, to Pokagon to assist in a series of revival meetings at the church.[4] At the meeting, the church choir performed Bennard's newly penned hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross;" it was the first time the hymn was performed in public. Afterward, the Reverend and Mrs. Bostwick financed the first printing of the "Old Rugged Cross," and it quickly became one of the most popular hymns in the United States.[2]

In 1914, the congregation purchased the nearby Baptist church, selling this church to John Phillips, who used it as a storage barn.[2] In 1998, the church was purchased for restoration.[4] As of 2013, the restoration was 85% complete, with over $800,000 spent.[5] In 2013 the church received a Governor's Award for Historic Preservation.[6]

Description[edit]

The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon is a rectangular, two-story vernacular building measuring 90 feet (27 m) by 28 feet (8.5 m).[3] It has a gable roof and horizontal bevel-edge siding. A gabled entryway projects from the front facade, and pointed-head windows line the sides. Inside, a flat-ceilinged sanctuary takes up most of the space, with a kitchen at the rear. A Sunday school area is located above the kitchen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Methodist Episcopal Church". Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Historic Sites Online. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon". Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Historic Sites Online. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Mumford, Lou (2013-09-14). "Famous Hymn Still Resonates". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  5. ^ Debra Haight (May 1, 2013). "More recognition for 'Old Rugged Cross' church". The Herald Palladium. 
  6. ^ Bach, Katie (2013-04-03). "Snyder Announces 2013 Awards for Historic Preservation" (Press release). State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 

External links[edit]