History of the Hilliard Area Churches

Wesley Chapel was the first organized church in Hilliard, founded in 1832 by the families of Arnold Clapp, Appollos Rogers, Robert Elliott and William Armistead. Originally services were held in a barn, a log cabin and a schoolhouse on Mr. Clapp’s land. The first wooden frame building was constructed in 1839. Over the years, weather conditions and poor workmanship made it necessary to replace that first building several times. The current building is of brick construction measuring 43’ X 50’. It originally cost $6,500. Reverend D. H. Moore officially dedicated it on July 24, 1892. In the 1940s members Kenneth Ç. Howard and Guy Hart, with the help of some friends, dug out a basement on their hands and knees. They carried out handfuls of dirt by hand and used a team of horses to haul the dirt away. In the early years, a pot-bellied stove provided heat. Later, a hand-fired furnace and a stoker-fed furnace were used; and, finally, an oil furnace was installed in 1973. The church at 3299 Dublin Road closed on June 22, 1977, and the members merged with Scioto Ridge United Methodist Church.

The first Hilliard Methodist Church was constructed in 1853 on land specifically set aside by John Reed Hilliard. There were two lots on Main Street for a house and a parsonage. A brick sanctuary was added in 1883. Money was raised by “passing the hat” and the building costs were paid off in two years. In 1924, a new wood frame, two story, three-bedroom parsonage was built on Norwich Street. The church had outgrown its space, so it was torn down and replaced with another facility, which included an educational wing. At this time, several Methodist Episcopal churches from surrounding areas merged to become the Methodist Church, and the Hilliard Methodist Episcopalian Church was on its own. By 1951 the church was, again, outgrowing its facility. Five acres of land were purchased at the corner of Main Street and Scioto Darby Road for a new church. Ground was broken on April 28, 1957, and that church is still serving the community today.

The Colwell Church was created in 1855, when John Colwell invited friends and neighbors into his log cabin to worship. Occasionally a traveling circuit minister would visit for a service. They also met in the schoolhouse. Some years later, a formal structure was built on land donated by Philip Clover and Francis Richards. That building was finally dedicated in December 1876. Members helped choose the name by buying votes for their name for 5¢. The person offering the most money would be the winner. John Colwell’s wife, Ann, bought $25.00 of votes, so the church was named the Colwell Church. The last church service was held in 1964, and for the next 20 years the building was vacant. In order to preserve the church, the Glen Anderson Family purchased and donated the building to Northwest Village in memory of their mother, Luella Compton Anderson. It was moved to its current location and dedicated on October 7, 1984.

The Amlin Chapel began in 1868 as a Methodist Church in Amlin. It met in a wooden building known as the “Churchman School”. The minister was a circuit rider preacher. When high winds destroyed the building, Hester Amlin donated a small piece of land. The new one-room church was a wood frame construction with a stone foundation, which was topped by a bell tower and bell. The Amlin Chapel was dedicated on February 1, 1880. It was the fourth church in the Hilliard District and later became known as the Amlin United Methodist Church. An article in The Ohio State Journal, dated February 2, 1880, tells that the first funeral held in the chapel occurred the day before the dedication. Sarah J. Cramer, daughter of John and Eliza, age 21, died on January 30, 1880, after having been burned in a fire in November. After the funeral, the dedication continued. The Amlin United Methodist Church is still serving the community.

Adapted by Judy Burkle