Contractor Dan Stark grinds away 79 years of rust at WUMC.
Contractor Dan Stark grinds away 79 years of rust at WUMC.
Back in the early 1920s there were a group of Methodists who had been attending church at the corner of Dunkelberg and Bluffton Road. The structure they were using was sold and moved, which left the group without a place to worship. They moved their church meetings to the two-story house on the corner of Bluffton and Old Trail Road, the Elzey Funeral Home.

The membership grew, and the group needed to expand their meetings into a real church structure. They decided to locate it on the corner of Old Trail and Church Street. Of course it wasn’t called Church Street then, it wasn’t even a street yet.

In those days there wasn’t a lot of money laying around for building projects, so in the middle 20’s, when the Poor Farm was torn down, that enterprising group of Methodists salvaged the used bricks from the Poor Farm for the building of the new Waynedale United Methodist Church. The group borrowed the money and then began the daunting task of erecting a structure to house their dreams and aspirations.

After the excavation, the foundation of the building was rough-formed using whatever scrap lumber was on hand. After the forms were striped, brick masons finished the corners and door openings with the used brick. A coal-fired boiler was purchased and placed in the boiler room and a fire door was mortared in, which would protect the church from any coal fire that might get out of hand. The rest of the brick was used in constructing the remainder of the church.

Homer and Virgil Hoke of Waynedale Plumbing remembered the project. Virgil said, “My dad Howard Hoke used to keep the old boiler going. He would go to the church and throw in a couple shovels of coal, which would keep the building above freezing. When there was a meeting or special event he would stoke up the furnace and heat whichever zone needed heating. As caretaker of the church, he made $12 a week. Later on, the church purchased an automatic auger called an ‘Iron Man’, which fed the coal to the furnace automatically.” When Virgil was in the fourth grade at Waynedale Elementary School, it was his job to go down in the boiler-room at a regular time every day and flip the switch which activated the ‘Iron Man’, thereby maintaining the proper temperature in the church.”

Over the past 79 years the extremely humid boiler-room environment had rusted the bottom of the boiler room doorframe causing the lower hinge to rust off. This provided a chance to not only repair the door, but to get a good look at the handiwork of the masons from so many years ago.

Local contractor Dan Stark was called in to evaluate the doorframe problem and good neighbor Matt Schmidt of Lower Huntington Road, fabricated the parts needed to complete the job. As often was the case in the old days, Dan and Matt volunteered their time and materials to complete the repair. Hopefully the boiler room door and the Church will last for another 79 years and beyond.

The Waynedale News Staff


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