A Piece of History about St. Paul Lutheran Church
We are starting by sharing these stories, however, more history stories will be posted at a later date.
St. Paul Lutheran church has had to over-come some major building damages. On March 11, 1955, a tornado ripped through Newcomerstown at about 6:15 a.m. It caused extensive damage throughout the area including damage to the church.
On October 19, 1999, the church structure was destroyed by a fire! (Pictures are posted here of the fire damage) It was reported the destruction came about because of an arsonist. The congregation was determined to move forward and almost three years later the new $1.8 million home of St. Paul Lutheran Church at 121 College Street in Newcomerstown opened their doors. The new structure was larger with more than13,000 square feet, which included a 200 seat sanctuary, a Christian education center, and a fellowship hall suitable for receptions, banquets, sporting activities like volleyball and basketball and congregational gatherings.
The entire community (Newcomerstown) put in efforts to see St. Paul Lutheran Church get rebuilt. The insurance settlement for the former structure was $532,000.
Church fundraisers and community support helped this church rise from the ashes.
One other fascinating piece to this story is the history of the church bell. The church bronze bell was cast in 1844. Weighing at 360 pounds, it arrived in Newcomerstown by canal boat from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it had been cast by the A. Fulton Company. The small, brick church built in 1838 on Rodney's Hill at the corner of Bridge and Neighbor's Street was the bell's first permanent home. In 1869, a frame, two-story building was constructed at 121 South College Street, and the bell was moved to its new church home. The wooden structure was replaced in 1906 with a brick church building which allowed the bell to be visible in the belfry. This remained the home for the bell for 93 years. In spite of the tragic fire in 1999, the bell tower remained standing amid the devastation. After some cleaning and polishing of the bell, it did get placed in the new steeple after the rebuild. The return of the bell and the new steeple was the crowning glory after the new structure was completed, just 3 years after the fire. Pastor Will Haggis was the minister during the days of the rebuild.