Friday, July 1, 2011

Once Upon A Time In Placerville No. 6: Methodist Episcopal (Federated) Church

Good morning. Today we are going to take a visit to an old church which no longer exists in Placerville, California. It stood proudly at the corner of Main Street and Cedar Ravine for just about a hundred years. It was beautiful, ivy covered, solid looking, and I loved it when I was a little girl. It reminded me of another old church in Huntington Park, Ca, which I used to attend with my beloved Aunt Lillian and Uncle Guy, the parents of my Dad's boyhood best friend.

The first photo, which was found by my friend Emma and posted by her on Facebook, inspired me to write this post, which I had been thinking about and procrastinating over for a few months. When Emma posted this photo, I realized there were a lot of other people out there with fond memories of this church, and it was about time someone showed it off! Thank you Emma.

Isn't it lovely? This is one of the few pictures I found which shows the church without all the ivy covering it, so you can see the lines of the windows and the steeple. The front door is located in the center of the building. The caption under this photo says "Placerville Methodist Episcopal Church. Built in 1861. Now the FEDERATED; used conjointly by Methodists and Presbyterians."

This next picture shows the side door which took the place of the ivy covered front door. This is the way I remember the church best. This caption states: Federated Church. Original entrance ivy-overgrown, new entrance is shown at location of original arched window."

The photo above, which also shows the Druid monument, is taken from a little church brochure dated Sunday, February 14, 1943, from the "El Dorado County Parish Federated Church, Placerville, California, Jesse R Rudkin, Minister. The address is 610 Main Street, Phone 561. Morning Worship 11 a.m. Sunday School 9:45. a.m. Mr. E. A. Willard, S. S. Supt."

One of my favorite finds is this little (about 4" by 5") New Method Perpetual Calendar which also shows Rev. George C. King, Pastor, and covered the years1898 through 1909. Pass these little babies out and no one can say they didn't know it was Sunday!

Follow Main Street a bit East, past Sweetie Pie's (on the left just out of the picture), past the Ivy House, which I have done a post about in the past, and there you are. Services at 11 a.m. I am guessing parking wasn't much of a problem in those days.

Oops, I think we made a detour to Sweetie Pie's for a sweet roll, to sustain us through the sermon. On our way now, Reverend!

I have two sources of information I have found on this church: a little brochure, about the size of a map, entitled "Early Methodist Churches along the Mother Lode 49 Highway" copyright 1963, by the Conference Historical Society of the California-Nevada Conference of the Methodist Church, and "Churches of El Dorado County, California, Their History, Covering a Period of Ninety Years from 1850 to 1940" by Will O. Upton, Placerville, California, 1940.

Below is a Frasher's postcard with a nice clear picture of our church. Just to the right is the building which incorporated the oldest church in El Dorado County, which I will talk about later.

Would you believe there is a house hidden behind those trees in the photo above? The following quotes are from the Upton tome.

"In 1860 a famous old Presiding Elder, Rev. Adam Bland, came to the pastorate of the Church and under his leadership the present brick M.E. Church was erected at the cost of $12,450, exclusive of the lot, which was presented to church authorities by the late Frank Goyan, Sr. and which had been graded at a cost of $800."

"Rev. E. J. Brader had the two winding stairways of the building replaced by the present stairway on the right side of the church - a great improvement over the old winding stairs; and Rev. Geo. C. King was responsible for the installation of the present pipe organ with its twenty-seven pipes - the only pipe organ in the county."

Now we can see the stately old home which used to stand next door. There was also a cemetery.

Above is one of the only views I have seen which show the side of the building well.

I find it ironic that a sign to Lake Tahoe, haven of gamblers, stands in front of our old church.

Another of the old door and no side stairs. I was glad to find the explanation for the change in the front doors, I had always wondered about that. I guess the nicely dressed up church ladies weren't fond of climbing the old rickety winding stairs!

There is our lovely old home next door, thanks to winter we can see beyond the trees.

I bet the ivy, which I imagine was Virginia Creeper, one of my favorite plants, was lovely in the fall when it turned scarlet.

This is a nice clear picture. I love the cross on the steeple.

When the church was torn down, the lovely pipe organ was rescued and is now at the El Dorado
County Fairgrounds on Placerville Drive, located in "The Organ Room".

Now just a little information about the building which stood to the right of the church, which was very important in its own right:

This postcard reads "Methodist Church - Placerville California. This building is the oldest church in El Dorado County. Built in 1851 by the Methodists. The lumber used in the frame work was shipped around the horn and brought in by freight train."

"Old Methodist Episcopal Church, Placerville, California. This is the oldest church building in El Dorado County. It was built in 1851 using hand hewn Ponderosa Pine timbers and a bell purchased from the sailing ship Staffordshire."

A bit of a visit to the past in Placerville. I hope you enjoyed it.


Heidi Ann said...

Do you know what year they tore it down? I have no memory of it at all, but I have always been rather fond of the Druid Monument, for some reason. These historical posts are absolutely fascinating to me. I love Placerville so much, and I truly enjoy reading about the history of our wonderful town, in which we had the true pleasure of growing up. Thank you for yet another delightful trip back through time.

yosemite faith said...

loved all the various photos and views etc. thanks for your talents at making history interesting.

Danielle said...

The last picture of the old M.E. Church is taken at the current site of the historic church. It sits on top of the hill up above where the church was originally located. The Federated Church still exists today and has regular services as well as Christmas services in the old historic church. I grew up in this church and was married in the Federated Church in 1998. Love seeing pictures of the old church before it was torn down and moved!

Anonymous said...

The church was moved up the hill to the Federated Church (Presbyterian/Methodist) location on Thompson Way. It has been fully restored and is a true testament to the local volunteers, including our youth group, who so paintakingly put it back together. It is registered as a Historical Site. The old graveyard is next to the church.

Joan, July 25, 2013