After two years of meetings, fundraisers, reviewing architect’s plans and watching construction of a new church, one would believe that a dedication of the building would be a grand affair. In the case of the Elm Park Methodist Church in July 1918, a one-day celebration just wasn’t enough, so they turned it into six days. While the festivities were interesting and enjoyable, they were also good moneymakers.
“The church edifice and site, which are in a rapidly growing section of the city, represent an outlay to date of approximately $13,000 and with the contributions of yesterday there is left less than $3,000 of indebtedness upon the society,” it was reported in The Oneonta Star of Wednesday, July 10, 1918. The church is actually in the town of Oneonta.
A morning service of July 9 got the dedication week underway, with Bishop J.F. Berry of Philadelphia delivering a powerful sermon. Subscriptions to the church amounted to more than $3,100 at that service alone.
The festive dedication week culminated efforts dating back to Oct. 31, 1916, as Elm Park Church was organized at a meeting held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Shutters in the West End. The first preaching service was soon after held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Dougherty.
The church name came from a tract of land that was being developed for new neighborhoods, called Elm Park. About 40 people gathered to break ground for the new church on Nov. 8, 1916, on a lot at the corner of Chestnut Street and Ceperley Avenue, given by Oliver A. Hubbell, a farmer, who lived at 390 Chestnut St. Several members of the church used picks and shovels to clear out the soil for the basement of the church before handing the rest of the construction over to George Fish for carpentry and W.H. McCall for the heating, plumbing and wiring.