Keeping Essonville church on the map

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Residents passionate about an Essonville landmark are inviting the community to walk back in time through the green doors of Christ Church. The Essonville Historic Church committee is hosting the first “Heritage and Decoration Day” Aug. 21. at 2 p.m. 

There will be committee members dressed in heritage attire ready to chat and answer questions about the building and its grounds, which are steeped in local history. “We’re trying to put a different spin to attract more interest and a younger crowd,” said church chairperson Robert McCrea. 

While the church hasn’t been operational since the 1960s, McCrea and others with family ties to the building have been hosting yearly events in the space and maintaining the facilities. 

A website filled with history about the building is volunteer-driven too. “My grandparents went to that church when it was still a church,” McCrea said. “My mother taught Sunday school there… It’s part of my heritage, my history.” 

Built in 1888, McCrea said the church was once the “heart” of Essonville and the first church built in what was then called the township of Monmouth. 

There was a post office and school as well. Reverend Watham bought the land, oversaw the church’s construction and served as minister once the church opened its doors. Pews were hewn from the same pine that lines the walls, trees that once towered over the property. A bell and stained glass were brought over from England.

It’s now one of the only remnants of Essonville’s past. 

“That’s why it’s so important to residents of that area,” McCrea said. “We’re trying to keep Essonville on the map. We’re trying to preserve that heritage.” 

The church keeps its doors open through donations. To donate or find out more, visit essonvillechurch.org or contact chair Robert McCrea 705-854-051, secretary Brenda Gallant 705-455-3452 or treasurer Roger Walsh 705-448-9513.