Last updated: August 24. 2013 8:15PM - 118 Views

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ADA — A landmark in Ada since it was built in 1899, First United Methodist Church was actually the second church the Methodists had built in this Hardin County village.As early as 1852, a group of pioneers met as the Ada Methodist class, holding meetings in the old schoolhouse that stood at the corner of Main and Montford streets. When the local Presbyterians built the area's first church in 1861, the Methodists joined them for services.By 1866, the local Methodists decided they needed their own house of worship, and built a two-story wooden structure on the corner of Gilbert Street and Highland Avenue.The local Methodist congregation continued to grow with worshipers numbering 400 within 30 years. At the same time, the two-building Ohio Northern University had grown to more than 2,000 students. It was decided that a new building was needed to house the growing congregation and college.On May 29, 1898, a brief history of the church was deposited in the stone that was set as the cornerstone for a new church on Main Street. Also included in that stone was a copy of the church history, a Methodist hymnal, a work by John Wesley, copies of the Bible, and current copies of Ada's two newspapers, The University Herald and the Ada Record.Cost for the new church was estimated at $26,800, which included the organ.The new church was dedicated on June 18, 1899. To mark the occasion, other pastors in the area dismissed their congregations early so all could join with the Methodists for their big day.In February 1903, a fire started on the south side of the church, near the chimney. Between the volunteer fire department and the local crowd, the fire was put out but not before an estimated $7,000 damage was done. To show their appreciation to the Fire Department, church members served the firefighters a dinner and gave them a $66 donation.Throughout the years, the church continued to grow. When the congregation celebrated its centennial in 1999, then pastor, the Rev. Wayne Albertson, wrote, “This church is also set in the life of a small town and in the lives of individuals who, one by one and in their uniqueness influence its worship and ministry. And, the church is also the context for the life of the town and all those individuals whose lives it touched briefly or intimately and regularly for a lifetime.”

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