The Lintel Stone

This Lintel Stone (right) depicts an important time in our congregation's history.   The stone was located over the double entrance doors of the church Century House, part of the original church property, located at the corner of Oneida and Third Streets. 

On June 9, 1915, the Official Board of the First Methodist Episcopal congregation accepted an offer to purchase the Marsh property adjacent to the parsonage, funds were also allocated to raise the house, grade and beautify the site.

The new site had popular support to be used for a Boy's Club.  Following the successful conclusion of a 3-year sale of shares, the church established the Centenary Fund, which was fully supported by our 1918 congregation and had steady growth.

In June of 1923, a Parish House planning committee was formed.  At the dedication of the Century House in 1926, the fund showed a substantial surplus.  This surplus was used as a seed to start the present Century Memorial fund in 1961 when a new building fund was organized. The earnings from the Century Memorial Fund are presently a large part of our budget each year, an important gift from that early congregation. April 15th through April 18th of 1926 was designated as the Centennial observation of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Fulton.

During the celebration, groundbreaking was accomplished for the church Century House, 1826-1926.  The Century House was added to the west wall of the church - that portion of the west side which lay north of the parsonage.  Thus, the Century House ran along the rear of the parsonage, extending several yards west of, and behind the parsonage.

A sidewalk running between the west wall of the church and the east wall of the parsonage led to the Century House's large double doors.  Very busy doors were there, with a large stage including dressing rooms.  In addition, it had a commercial kitchen, fully furnished, and a full-size basketball court.

 

The Reverend A. E. Legg had proposed the idea of a parish house that the church might better serve the community.  As we have seen, the members readily accepted his suggestion and the community quickly put the newly-built Century House to use.

 

The Red Cross Blood Bank came ten times a year.  Rotarians and Kiwanians, also the Masons were among service groups holding banquets there.  The Garden's Club Annual Flower Show needed the ample space it provided.  Speakers came when they needed to seat a large audience or feed a large group.  Feeding three hundred was it simply meant more W. S. C. S. members were asked to work.

On the night of August 10, 1961, the church sanctuary was entirely destroyed by fire.  As August 11th dawned hot and bright, the smoldering ruins of First Methodist Church were as dark and dreary as the spirits of its members.  Yet faith was not dead.  Phoenix-like, it stirred even that day.

 

Paul Driscoll, the custodian, found the 1877 church bell, cleaned it, and, after nearly a hundred years of service, it now sits at the front entrance of our present church. 

The Century Memorial Fund plaque, which now hangs in the church, was also rescued from the ashes. He unearthed the pair of bronze urns given by Imogene Paddock in memory of her mother, Mary Weeks Paddock.  That fire-blackened pair of urns are often in use on the altar or on the re-table.

When the box within the 1894 cornerstone was opened, three members who saw the cornerstone laid were present - Mrs. J. H. Howe, Miss Maybelle Hodges, and Miss Florence Distin.  The contents were badly damaged by the corrosion of time; some papers were indecipherable while others had crumbled to dust. A small bible seemed intact but was ready to crumble, too.  A package of Sunday School attendance cards was almost intact and perfectly legible.

 

The Syracuse Herald-Journal wrote of these days: "The great tower of the First Methodist Church is down and traffic is moving freely.  Great masses of rubble mount against remaining walls of the church and over sidewalks, and soon the historic landmark, dedicated in December of 1894, will be erased as completely as if it had never existed."

 

In May 1963, the Official Board of the First Methodist Episcopal Church voted to sell the property and remaining buildings on the corner of Oneida and East Third Street to the newly formed and church-sponsored Y. M. C. A. for a sum of $12,000.

The newly- formed Y. M. C. A. replaced the portion of building destroyed in the fire of 1961 with a new building housing a swimming pool, offices and locker rooms.  During the Y. M. C. A. construction, the Lintel Stone was cut through to accommodate a new support beam.

In the 1990s, the Y. M. C. A. moved to a new location and the once beautiful church building deteriorated through disuse and became a blight in the neighborhood.  The City of Fulton became responsible for the property in 1996, and in 1997 the buildings were demolished to make room for the new headquarters for Oswego County Opportunities. During demolition, the Lintel Stone was discovered by the Rowlee Construction Company and returned to our church.

 

The stone can be seen in our church today!

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ADDRESS:  First United Methodist Church

                    1408 State Route 176

                    Fulton, NY 13069

 

CHURCH OFFICE: (315) 592-7347
 
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                               Friday       9 am - 1 pm
 

EMAIL:      umcfirst@centralny.twcbc.com

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