Hartford United Methodist Church, 6846 Route 305, is planning to mark the 65th anniversary of the groundbreaking for its building.
The church will hold a re-enactment of the July 19, 1953, groundbreaking ceremony, followed by a covered dish luncheon. The date of the event is being set.
The church has been seeking descendants of those who participated in the original groundbreaking to take part in the re-enactment, as well as former church members and the ministers who have served at the church over the years. Attendees will be asked to dress in period (circa 1950s) costume.
The church was founded as the First Methodist Church in 1801 in Vernon by Mr. and Mrs. Obed Crosby – the Rev. Obed Crosby was the first minister – Mr. and Mrs. Ewing Wright and Eunice Brockway (who later married Daniel Bushnell). It is believed to have been the first Methodist church in the Western Reserve.
The church members met in parishioners’ homes or the Burghill school until 1836. The church moved to Hartford Center because more members had joined from the township, and the name changed to Hartford Methodist Church. That building was abandoned in 1927, and the church met in a neighboring church building and then the Hartford High School auditorium.
The current church was built for $40,000 by contractor James Traichal of Niles, and designed by architect Donald Bostwick of Niles.
The Woofter family donated the land for the church, and Stanley Woofter was president of the church’s board of trustees at the time.
The building was consecrated Dec. 27, 1953.
The educational wing was built in 1955, and the parsonage in 1962. Other additions and renovations have been made over the years.
The church had about 235 members in 1953, and now has about 150.
The current pastor is the Rev. MaryAnn Rufener.
Information is available at hartfordunitedmethodist.org or by calling 330-772-3871.