Because  You Asked . . . .

Condit Church Is Example of Gothic Architecture 

From Tavern to School to Hartford Road

Sometime in1835, a meeting was held in Gilbert Van Dorn's Tavern on the Johnstown-Sunbury road to discuss the possibility of organizing a Presbyterian church in Trenton township.  On October 15, 1836, twenty charter members signed, Elders Silas Ogden, Robert Lewis and Andrew Herron were elected, and the First Trenton Presbyterian Church was formed in the Ogden School House (Vans Valley School) at the corner of 605 and St. Route 37.  During the first year, Rev. C. N. Ransome served as pastor for $18.50 and held most of the services in this school.  Much of the very early history is lost before records were kept in 1851.

In 1838 a church was built across the street but it was sold to Mr. Miles and Mr. Skinner in 1858 when a new church was built in 1856 north of Hartford Road to be nearer the majority of the members of the congregation. This church was built across the street from the present manse for $500. When this building became too small, it was sold to Burt Pierson who moved it away to use for a barn until lightning caused it to burn.

Elder Edgar Condit, a pioneer who brought his bride Jane from New Jersey in an ox cart many years before, donated land on the south side of Hartford Road as a site for a larger church.  The present building was built in 1879 for $2,888.96.  The building was one large room for the sanctuary, which is still used today, with the door to the northeast under a bell tower.  The chancel was west of the sanctuary with pews facing west. Rev Robert Wylie was hired for three months in 1876 but stayed 20 years.

In 1904 a major renovation was completed for $4,500.  With the addition to the west for Sabbath School classrooms,  the chancel was moved to the alcove on the south, the pews were turned.  The entry and bell tower were moved to balance the north wall.  A new slate roof was added and a small basement for a furnace was dug.  Stained glass memorial windows were added.  The old colored glass windows were stored in the belfry.  Many years later a stray baseball was caught by Christ's hands in the large window.

In 1911 a new manse was built next to the church and the old one across the street was sold. 

During the 1920's the name was changed to First Presbyterian Church of Condit and later to Condit Presbyterian Church.

In 1946, with picks, shovels, slip scoops on tractors, elevators and lots of manual labor, men from the church dug out the basement under the church for classrooms and social events. The Friendly Club furnished the kitchen. Restrooms and a larger furnace room finished the basement area.

In 1952, Seymour, Indiana resident Rev H. Nathan Frederick, former minister in Condit and later chaplain at Camp Atterbury Air Base, told the present chaplain Col. William Pocock  about the colored glass windows in the Condit belfry.  Col. Pocock contacted Condit's trustees and minister Rev. G. W. Bingaman and all agreed to present the 22 stained glass windows to the Air Base to be added into the new chapel under construction.

A windstorm in march 1955 damaged the sanctuary, pews and the center section of the large stained glass window. For a couple of months, services were held in Slack Funeral Home and then the school while repairs were made - including ordering all new pews.

In 1961, the west wing was once again expanded for more classrooms and a pastor's study.

When the church celebrated 160 years of service in 1996, the roster still held many descendents of the original settlers but not any Condits.  It is still the center of activities for the community and home to Presbyterians from all over the Big Walnut area.

Thanks to the Centennial Bulletin of the First Presbyterian Church in Condit, Ohio (1936), and to the Condit Presbyterian Church, 1836-1996 bulletin with history by James Bargar, Mary Elisabeth Brenner, Margaret Fisher, Dorothy Justice, Mary Perfect and Lola Dell Searles.

 

Photos from Condit Presbyterian Church:  

CondPresby1996-600.JPG (121325 bytes) 

 
1936 Rev. and Mrs. Peter Crego in front of the window which caught the ball

1985

1996 

 

         

. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn

 

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(06/02/2007 )

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