Editor’s Note: This is another installment of a series of columns by Historian Pat Stephens called Our History.
HUBER HEIGHTS — Sulphur Grove United Methodist Church was dedicated as a United Brethren Church on November 11, 1871. The brick church, was designed and built by Joseph C. McElhaney, the land on which the building stands was donated by Stephen Allen. The clay for the bricks was taken from the ground on the southeast corner of Taylorsville Road and Brandt Pike. Sulphur Grove was named for the Sulphur in the ground and for the beautiful grove of trees that stood at the entrance. But, that was not the original name.
Sulphur Grove was named Holden Chapel, after Reverend Samuel S. Holden. Reverend Holden was assigned to the Second District School House from September 1869 to August 1872 (where services were held prior to building the Chapel), and members who attended, were called the Holden Class. The final year of Reverend Holden’s assignment, the Chapel was built, and it was only fitting to name it Holden Chapel.
In 1875 a Township map shows three areas of any noteworthy population – Chambersburg, Taylorsville and Sulphur Grove (formerly called Kildeer), which had twelve to fourteen buildings, one was Election Schoolhouse and another Holden Chapel. It appears, those who were dedicated to the religious denomination, that was created over 50 years before, needed a place of worship to call their own.
There is no record of how much work was donated by the members to build the Chapel, but it is almost certain that many were present. There was no electricity, at that time, so hand digging with picks and shovels was used to dig the clay to make the bricks. A temporary kiln was constructed and bricks were fired near the site.
Over the years, the church has gone through many growing pains and additions have been made to the original building. Members have been careful to preserve the old structure and not destroy it’s historical value.
The story of “The Little Church by the Side of the Road” will be continued.
Information in this article obtained from “The Little Church by the Side of the Road”, written by William Fry and the “History of Wayne Township 1810-1979”, written by Bea Baldwin and Wanda Sester
Pat Stephens is a Historian at the Wayne Township Huber Heights Historical Society. For more information about the Historical Society see our website www.huberhistory.org Facebook/Wayne Township Huber Heights Historical Society, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or, call Sue Patrick, President 937-545-4902 or Pat Stephens 937-974-5286.