CLOSED CHURCHES WITHIN THE PRESENT BOUNDARIES OF THE

SUSQUEHANNA CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
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MIFFLIN COUNTY PA


1. Alfarata ME

Description: alfrata

Location: Alfarata Road, village of Alfarata
Municipality:
Decatur township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    The village of Alfatata is on US 522, 8 miles northeast of Lewistown.  Go 8 miles northeast of Lewistown to the village of AlfarataAlfarata Road is the only cross road in the village.  Turn left and go 100 yards.  The church stood in the empty lot, before the creek, on the right.  The 1877 atlas of Mifflin County gives the exact location.

Historic Conference:
    Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church  

Journal references:
    1925,63 - authorization to sell
    1954,55 – declared abandoned; authorization to sell

Brief History:
    Alfarata was originally known as Lillyville.  The first Methodist services were held in Lillyville, by the preacher on the Lewistown circuit, in 1823.  A class was formed that same year.  The first church building was erected, with permission, on private property in 1850.  Andrew Parker and E.L. Benedict came into possession of the ground on which the church stood on May 23, 1863.  They immediately deeded the property to the Methodist congregation.  In 1899 the church building underwent major renovations.  A windstorm severely damaged the structure on May 16, 1938.  The building was repaired and re-dedicated on March 5, 1939.
    In 1901 the 4-point Vira charge was established: Alfarata, Ellen Chapel, Vira and Wagner.  Alfarata was always the smallest church on the charge, and it was almost closed in the 1920's.  While the membership rolls came back up, the church was never prosperous.  By the 1950's there were still over 40 members on the rolls, but services were no longer being held on a regular basis.  The church was declared abandoned in 1954.

Final disposition:
   
The church building was dismantled by the Decatur firemen in 1955.


2. Allensville ME

Description: allensville

Location: PA 655, village of Allensville
Municipality:
Menno township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    From Mt. Union, go 6 miles west on US 22 to Mill Creek and PA 655.  Go 10 miles north on PA 655 to the village of Allensville.  The church is on the right.  The 1877 atlas of Mifflin County gives the exact location.

Historic Conference:
   Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church       

Journal references:
    1925,63 - authorization to sell
    1926,243 - sold

Brief History:
    This property was deeded to the Methodists October 4, 1852, and a church building was erected the same year.  As the Kishacoquillas Valley is primarily agricultural and dominated by Mennonites and other "plain" folks, area Methodism did not thrive.  In 1922, the pastor appointed to the Belleville charge reported that " is supposed to have a score of members but has not had for a long time, and does not care to have, regular preaching." 

Final disposition:
   
The church building was purchased by A.C. Helfrick and William Updegrove, whoi then deeded it to the village of Allensville for a community hall.  There is a small cemetery behind the building.


3. Barrville ME

Description: barrville

Location: Back Mountain Road, village of Barrville
Municipality:
Brown township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    From Lewistown, go 5 miles west on US 322 to the interchange with PA 655.  Go 3 miles south on PA 655 to Barrville Road.  Turn right and go 2 miles to the village of Barrville.  Turn right on Back Mountain Road and go 100 yards.  The church is on the left.  The 1877 atlas of Mifflin County gives the exact location.

Historic Conference:
    Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church     

Journal references:
     1954, 129 – received $100 from sale of church; funds temporarily held in trust

Brief History:
    This property was deeded to the Methodists January 1, 1852, and a church building was erected the same year.  As the Kishacoquillas Valley is primarily agricultural and dominated by Mennonites and other "plain" folks, area Methodism did not thrive.  The work was discontinued about 1915.  A few years later Progressive [General Conference] Mennonites began using the structure, and continued to do so into the 1930's.  The Methodists finally sold the property to another Mennonite group in 1953.

Final disposition:
     The property is now home to the Barrville Mennonite Church of the Allegheny Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church USA.  They purchased the old building in 1953, erected a new building in 1959, and enlarged the structure in 1994.


4. Ebenezer ME

Description: ebenezer

Location: Middle Road
Municipality:
Granville township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    Take business US 22 [old US 22] west out of Lewistown.  Just before business US 22 connects with US 22, turn south on Industrial Park Road.  Go 0.5 miles to Middle Road [which parallels US 22, separated by a ridge].  Turn right on Middle Road and go 1 mile.  The church stood on the right side of the road, on the hill pictured above.  The 1877 atlas of Mifflin County gives the exact location.

Historic Conference:
    Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church    

Journal references:

Brief History:
   
Methodist preaching in the area began in 1816.  On June 26, 1818, was converted and became a local preacher.  By 1826 he was preaching regularly in McKee's schoolhouse to a class of more than 25 members.  Ebenezer Chapel was erected in 1831.  Soon two other building were erected, Wesley Chapel in 1836 and Gruber Chapel in 1843, and the 3-point Granville charge was formed.  Wesley Chapel is now Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Lockport, and Gruber Chapel relocated to Granville in 1881 and is now Granville United Methodist Church. 
    In 1879 the Granville charge was discontinued, and the appointments added to the McVeytown charge.  It appears that Ebenezer church was abandoned either at that time or a few years later in 1881 when the new building replacing Gruber Chapel was erected in Granville.

Final disposition:
   
The site is part of a farm.


5. Ellen Chapel ME

Description: ellen chapel

Location: 11764 Ferguson Valley Road
Municipality:
Brown township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    From Lewistown, take US 322 2 miles west to the Ferguson Valley Road interchange.  Go south on Ferguson Valley Road 2 miles.  The church is on the right.

Historic Conference:
    Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church    

Journal references:

Brief History:
    This appointment developed out of the Aurand Sunday School, a union effort begun in the Aurand schoolhouse in 1840.  In 1886 F.G. Franciscus erected Ellen Chapel in memory of his wife.  Previous to 1901, public worship services were held in the chapel from time to time by ministers of various denominations.  In that year the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church made Ellen Chapel a regular preaching appointment on the 4-point Vira Charge - along with Alfarata, Vira and Wagner.  When the Alfarata appointment was officially abandoned in 1954, the remaining 3 churches continued as a vibrant charge until 2001 ― and Ellen Chapel was the largest church on the charge, having erected a large modern sanctuary in 1877.
    But in 1900 the chapel trustees had signed an agreement to lease the property from Mr. Franciscus for 99 years, with the understanding that the building be used for union services.  This meant that the property was never owned outright by the chapel trustees or the Methodist Church.  And while that fact may not have been advertised, it was no secret ― as the definitive list in the 1915 journal, for example, identifies Ellen Chapel as a "church not owned by us."  Strange as it may seem, such an arrangement was by no means unique to Ellen Chapel.  When such old leases expire, arrangements are typically made to bring the property in compliance  with the practice and Discipline of the United Methodist Church.  Beginning in 1999, it seemed for a few years that such would be case for Ellen Chapel ― but it was not to be.  In 2001 the longstanding arrangement between Ellen Chapel and Methodism ended, and it was no longer a part of the Vira charge or the United Methodist denomination.

Final disposition:
     The building now houses Ellen Chapel Church, a non-denominational congregation.


6. Glenwood ME

glenwood

Location: 1200 US 522 North
Municipality:
Derry township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    From the interchange of US 322 with US 522 at the north edge of Lewistown, go 2 miles north on US 522.  The church is on the right.

Historic Conference:
    Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church  

Journal references:
    2003,171 - discontinued
    2008,323 - reported as having been sold in 2004

Brief History:
    In 1944 the pastor of the Yeagertown charge inspired members of his congregation to organize a Sunday School and church in the Glenwood area.  On March 31, 1945, the Rupert School property was purchased from the Derry Township School Board and the project was up and running.  At a congregational meeting on August 28, 1962, the congregation decided to build a new church.  The modern structure pictured above was dedicated September 29, 1963.
    Glenwood remained on the Yeagertown charge until 1960, when Lakewood and Glenwood were made a two-point charge.  That arrangement lasted 1971, when Glenwood was placed with Grove Memorial.  The membership dropped over the years, and Glenwood was discontinued in 2003.

Final disposition:
      The building now houses the Mifflin County Refuse and Recycling Center.


7. Gruber Chapel ME

[no picture]

Location: Snooks Hill Road
Municipality:
Granville township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    From Lewistown, take PA 103 6 miles southwest to Snooks Hill Road [1 mile past Granville Road].  Turn right on Snooks Hill Road and go 0.5 miles.  The church stood on the right.  The 1877 atlas of Mifflin County gives the exact location.

Historic Conference:
    Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church    

Journal references:

Brief History:
    This rural structure was erected in 1843 and named for the noted Rev. Jacob Gruber.  With the growth of the village of Granville, plans were being made to erect a new structure in a more populated location.  A site was selected and the sale of chapel was almost completed when Gruber Chapel and all of its contents were destroyed by fire on December 20, 1881.  Construction of the new building, now Granville United Methodist Church, began within days.

Final disposition:
     


8. Locke Mills EA

 

Location: Locke Mill Road, village of Locke Mills
Municipality:
Armagh township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions:
     Reedsville is of US322 about 9 miles west of Lewistown.  Exit Reedsville on Honey Creek Road, the only road going north out of Reedsville.  Go 7 miles north on Honey Creek Road (through Shrader) to the village of Locke Mills.  Honey Creek Road makes a sharp left and becomes Locke Mill Road a short distance before the village.  The church is on the right.

Historic Conference:
    East Pennsylvania Conference of the Evangelical Association    

Journal references:
    1896,30 – church building purchased from the Presbyterians

Brief History:
    Evangelical preaching in the Locke Mills school house began about 1875 by the preacher serving New Lancaster Valley.  The church building in the community was erected by the Episcopal Church in 1847 and sold at sheriff’s sale in 1863.  In 1865 it was sold back to the Episcopal Church.   In 1868 it was sold to the Presbyterians.  The Evangelical Association purchased it in 1896, but services were discontinued and the building was sold sometime before the 1922 denominational re-union. 

Final disposition:
     It is believed that this building is now the Evangelical Methodist Church in Locke Mills pictured above, which has since added a wing on the east side of the structure – but this has not been confirmed.  


9. Mattawana UB

Description: mattawana

Location: PA 103, in the village of Mattawana
Municipality:
Bratton township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    Mattawana is across the Junianat River from McVeytown.  From McVeytown on US 22/522, take John Street east 1 mile across the river to PA 103 in the village  of Mattawana.  Turn right on PA 103 and go 0.5 miles.  The church stood on the right, across from the Yoder bus garage.

Historic Conference:
    Allegheny Conference of the United Brethren Church  

Journal references:
   
1898,8 – new building under construction
    1899,11 – new building dedicated
    1912,43 – resolution relative to sale approved

Brief History:
    This structure was moved to Ryde in 1916 and became the United Brethren church building in that community.

Final disposition:
     


10. McVeytown UB

Description: mcveytown

Location: South Market Street, McVeytown
Municipality:
borough of McVeytown
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    John Street is the main east-west street in McVeytown, and the street that crosses the Juniata River to Mattawana,  From the intersection of US 22/522 with John Street, go west one block on John Street to Market Street.  Go south 1.5 blocks on Market Street.  The building is on the left.

Historic Conference:
     Allegheny Conference of the United Brethren Church      

Journal references:
   
1892,23 - new building nearing completion
    1893,10 - new building dedicated

Brief History:
   

Final disposition:
    The church has been converted into a double house.  The mural that once graced the front of the sanctuary is reportedly still there, on the second floor, behind the wall.


11. Pine Glen ME

Description: pine glen      Description: pine glen

Location: village of Pine Glen
Municipality:
Bratton township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    Pine Glen is on PA 103, 11 miles south of Lewistown and 3 miles north of Mattawana.  From Mattawana, go 3 miles north on PA 103 to River Road, in the village of Pine Glen.  Turn right on River Road and go 100 yards.  The church is on the left.

Historic Conference:
   Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church       

Journal references:
    1911,78 - church building dedicated

Brief History:
    Beginning in the mid-1800's, the people of Pine Glen assembled in the local school house for worship.  In 1894, following revival meetings in the nearby Irishtown schoolhouse, the Methodist pastor from McVeytown was invited to hold services in the Pine Glen schoolhouse.  A class was formed on December 10, 1894.  The schoolhouse became an appointment on the McVeytown charge.  In the fall of 1909, a successful revival encouraged the people to erect a church building.  Land was donated by Elijah Smith, and the building was dedicated on November 20, 1910.  The church was on the McVeytown charge for its entire existence.  Its last reported membership was 11 in 1950, but regular services had not been held for several years.

Final disposition:
     The building is now used for storage.  The M.E. cornerstone is still visible to identify the structure.


12. Ryde ME

Description: ryde

Location: PA 103, village of Ryde
Municipality:
Bratton township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    The village of Ryde is on PA 103, 5 miles south of Mattawana.  The church is on the east side of the PA 103, at the north end of the village.

Historic Conference:
     Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church  

Journal references:

Brief History:
    This building was originally erected by the Methodists on the top of Ryde Hill, across the road from the present Ryde United Methodist Church.  The church was reportedly built "up the hill" to avoid the noise from the trains passing through the village.  In 1914, the church was dismantled and relocated to its present location, down the hill and along the main highway.  The church was rebuilt exactly as it had been, except the addition of a vestibule and a basement.  The people on the hill opposed to moving the church organized a Sunday School, which developed into a United Brethren Church.  In 1997 the former Methodist and United congregations joined to form the present Ryde United Church, which worshiped in the Methodist building until a new structure was erected at the United Brethren site.  The bells from both former structures have been incorporated into the sign for the new building.

Final disposition:
       


13. Ryde UB

Scan-130925-0001

Location: Ryde Road, village of Ryde
Municipality:
Bratton township
County:
Mifflin
State:
PA

Directions: 
    The village of Ryde is on PA 103, 5 miles south of Mattawana.  Ryde Road goes off to the east.  Turn left on Ryde Road and go 0.5 miles to the top of the hill.

Historic Conference:
    Allegheny Conference of the United Brethren Church

Journal references:

Brief History:
    A building was originally erected by the Methodists on the top of Ryde Hill, across the road from the present Ryde United Methodist Church.  The church was reportedly built "up the hill" to avoid the noise from the trains passing through the village.  In 1914, the church was dismantled and relocated to its present location, down the hill and along the main highway.  The people on the hill opposed to moving the church organized the Ryde Union Sunday School and met in the old schoolhouse for two years.  In 1916, they purchased the United Brethren church building in Mattawana, moved it to Ryde Hill, across from where the Methodist Church had been, and became a United Brethren congregation.  In 1997 the former Methodist and United congregations joined to form the present Ryde United Church, which worshiped in the Methodist building until a new structure was erected at the United Brethren site.  The bells from both former structures have been incorporated into the sign for the new building.

Final disposition:
     The building stood on the site of the present Ryde United Methodist Church.  It was dismantled moved to Danville to be re-assembled as part of the Olde Cloverleaf Village of shops and amusements.