First United Methodist Church
Follow the green arrows on the signs as you walk
Founded in 1810, the congregation of First United Methodist Church has been a cornerstone in the community for more than 200 years.
Construction on the current building started in 1892 after fire destroyed the large three-year-old structure that predated it. In the Massillon Fire Department log book, the conflagration is described in red ink as “a very hell of flames.” The newspaper wrote that the bell “made a mournful toll as it toppled to the ground.”
The 135-foot tower of this National Register building houses the “Town Clock.” A gift from the citizens of Massillon, funds were raised by subscription after the fire to replace the clocks in the original steeple. Though currently “frozen in time,” evaluations show that the priceless mechanisms are repairable. The hope is to again enlist the aid of the community to help restore this piece of Massillon’s history.
While most of Massillon’s stone structures have turned dark, the Methodists had their building cleaned, blasting it with corn cobs to remove the discoloration from industrial and coal furnace air pollution.
Union soldier William Pittenger received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor with Andrews’ Raiders in the famous “Great Locomotive Chase.” He was spared from the gallows along with several of his compatriots, but the Confederate Army hanged several of the raiders. Pittinger came to Massillon after his military service to become the minister at this church. Along with five other men who have earned the Medal of Honor, Pittinger is honored at Massillon’s Veterans Memorial Park, which you will pass later on your walk.
Directions: Cross Lincoln Way and keep walking south on Third Street Southeast to Tremont Avenue. Look diagonally across the intersection at the typical Anglican architecture—a stone church with red doors—the home of St. Timothy’s Church.