Church Fire

Methodist Episcopal Church

The original Methodist Church burned down in 1890 and the congregation was forced to meet in an upstairs room at the Charlton City schoolhouse. Edward Akers offered the church the land he owned on the other side of Brookfield Road, but the congregation, possibly disturbed by his manipulation of the Willis property, decided to rebuild on their old site. Mr. Akers formerly a heavy contributor, withdrew his support although the minister, Mr. Rogers, received free credit of items he purchased at the Akers & Taylor store.

The new building was completed December 15, 1893 for the sum of $3,200, and dedicated February 23, 1894. This is our former church building currently at the corner of Stafford Street and Brookfield Road. At this time, the memorial windows were installed.

Church Moved Across the Road

The situation remained the same until 1904 when Mr. Akers soon found out that the new church building was limiting the use of his property, as there was not enough land to use as his own yard without using some of the land which belonged to the church. That’s when he proposed to pay for moving the church across Brookfield Road with a full basement complete with kitchen, dining room and ladies parlor. This caused a great deal of controversy within the church. As some felt that only rooms for preaching and praying were necessary, while others wanted the additional rooms for sociability, which they said “is the life of the church. Those opposed felt so displeased and discouraged over what they considered a serious mistake that they stopped coming to church, resigned their positions and vowed not to return until Rev. Rogers left. However, after much discussion and exchanges of bitter feelings and nasty words, the church members accepted the offer.

Picture of a house being moved by oxen

Mr. Akers had the digging begun. The building was put on rollers and pulled by oxen, moved across Brookfield Road and placed upon the new foundation. Mr. Akers paid the $2,000 cost and was sent an official note thanking him for the “new smoke chimney, several useful rooms, two new stoves, carpets, silverware, several tables, electric light fixtures and other favors.“ At this time, the organ was installed. Built by George W. Reed of West Boylston of long-lasting ash wood, the organ has all wooden pipes and case.

Parsonage

Mr. Rogers also stayed for a three-year pastorate, living in the Methodist parsonage on Power Station Road. The Eastman family lived in a house that was next to the church, and arranged a swap with the church for the parsonage, so that the minister could live closer to the church. However, Rev. Sherman, the new minister, refused to live in the house because it was in such poor condition. Instead, the Sherman family lived in the church vestry until the old house was torn down and a new house was built for $2,561, without heat, lights or plumbing.

The Church and WW I

By 1917, America was directly involved in World War I and the church auditorium was closed on Sundays, with services held in the vestry to conserve heat and fuel during the winter. Before the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, seven boys had left the church to follow the colors, but only one actually got overseas.

The pastor reported that the proprietors of the Charlton Woolen Mills (formerly Akers & Taylor) and the Ashworth Manufacturing Company had given him a very generous role of bills at Christmas. These companies also donated $3,419 for repairs to the church. The money was used to slate the roofs of the church and the parsonage, retop the chimneys, paint both buildings, provide exit signs, and fire extinguishers and install an electric motor for the organ, which, up to this time was manually pumped.

The parsonage was sold by the church in 1969.

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Organ & Memorial Windows