FEBRUARY 2016: 200 YEARS OF UNION PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Today I am going to discuss the history of our buildings. As you may remember, last month I discussed the original building which was across the road and was 36 by 40 feet of stone construction and built for about $1700 raised by subscription.
In 1850 growth caused them to add 15 feet to the west end and add two doors and 2 windows, once again with stone walls and at a cost of $739.
In 1869, just after the close of the Civil War, to meet growing attendance, a larger 85 by 55 foot building was erected at our present location. This is now the first floor of our present building. This cost $8,800.
In 1898, this second floor sanctuary, bell tower and new front were added at a cost of $7500. How amazing is it that the first floor was built so substantially that they could erect an even larger building right on top of it ? The bell in the tower weighs 1900 pounds. This was the second bell for this purpose. The original was rung so loudly and continuously on its delivery from Oxford to Union that it cracked and had to be replaced. If you look closely at the brick out on the west side you can pick out the difference where the 1898 brick meets the 1869 brick.
No major changes would take place to the building for the next 106 years! In 2004 the new addition was completed at a cost of $1,200,000. This cost about 70 times as much as everything that was previously built.
There are 2 interesting points I should mention. Records show that in the donations to build the 1869 building, they came up $20 short because someone gave counterfeit money. But the main thing I would like to point out is the name of the church. This is called Union church because it was founded by the union of several various Presbyterian organizations. At the time the church was built, the village across the road was called Coleraine. It eventually adopted the name of Union from the church, not the other way around. When the first church was built, the village up the road we know as Kirkwood consisted of only one building and was known not as Kirkwood but as Barkleys Tavern. That building, behind the current post office is where Betty Vasco grew up. And now you know the rest of the story.