1955 - Old Church Parsonage

(Old Parsonage after it was moved to Paddock Street in 1954)

At the corner of Brink and Williams Street, in 1899, a large and stately parsonage was built, across from the new Methodist Church. This Manse was a three-story residence including the attic which was floored over. On the second floor were five large and well-lighted bedrooms, a bathroom and a long hallway, from which one could enter the attic and also go down into the kitchen from a rear stairway. Clothes' closets were in every room and a very attractive linen closet (it too was spacious) was built on the hallway.

Often the families of the minister were large and the five bedrooms were needed. Often visitors from other towns and visiting ministers stayed overnight. The automobile was a thing of the future and trains were used for traveling. Schedules were not always right for return trips and so the visitors were invited to stay in the parsonage.

Downstairs - one entered a hallway from the front porch, which was built across the front of the house. Here in the cool of the summer evenings the family sat and watched the horse-drawn buggies pass and often the friends of the minister would wave or stop and visit a few minutes. Too much speed was unknown in the 1890's.

Along the north side of the house was another porch from which one could enter the second parlor; at the kitchen door and on the south side of the house, were a porch and an entrance to the kitchen and the basement. The kitchen was a good size as was the lovely dining room with a spacious china cabinet with glass doors. The woodwork throughout the house was of oak wood as were the floors.

The first parlor, for in all the best homes in those mid-Victorian days there were two parlors, one could enter here from the front large hallway and a wide archway separated the two parlors. Many meetings and luncheons were held in these two rooms. This truly was a lovely house and a homey place. As the years passed, repairs were taken care of, such as a new roof and later a new furnace. Men from the membership of the church were always ready to do all they could, as did the men who helped to build the parsonage.

When in 1954 the congregation had grown too large, a new church was built at Dole and Crystal Lake Avenues and the old church and the lots on which the church and parsonage stood were sold and the old parsonage was then moved to 20 Paddock Street, where it answered as a parsonage until a new modern one was built at 303 West Crystal Lake Avenue.

A substantial part of Crystal Lake stood agog when the parsonage and another house on North Williams Street, each loosed from its moorings, rolled down in the direction of Paddock Street. It was a fete of great interest, but it was also attended with a lot of problems. Suffice it to say that the time schedule did not work according to preconceived notions.

It was several weeks before the parsonage was ready for occupancy. The whole thing meant considerable inconvenience for the parsonage family. The family tried sleeping in cramped quarters in the Pingree Hotel for a couple weeks, eating in the church kitchen, and shuffling among three places for the articles used in daily life. Most of the minister's books and office material were still in the parsonage, so he brought some office equipment to the church.

The minister took his family to Iowa at the end of September. Living there in a home with relatives was a considerable improvement. The beauty of the fall weather eased the situation materially, also. The family remained in Iowa until toward the end of the month. When they returned many of the folks about the church had mercy upon the minister and invited him for many fine meals until the parsonage was again livable.

The lovely old Manse now is sold and houses a family and the voices of little children ring throughout its rooms and hallways. It lives again.