Photo above, circa 1908

(Andover United Methodist Church, 2009)

Information Obtained:

History of Allegany County 1879

Allegany and It’s People 1896

Andover News

Andover Sesquicentennial 1974

Submitted by William A. Greene  2009

The first class of the M. E. Church in the township was held in a log schoolhouse at Shoemaker’s Corners (Elm Valley) in 1833.  The class was organized by a Rev. G. W. Vaughan, of the Amity circuit.  Rev. Gleason Fillmore was presiding elder.

In May, 1840, Jason Hunt was converted and marched forth, a mail-clad warrior, battling for “the faith delivered to the saints.”  The formation of the M. E. Class of Andover Corners, of which he was the first leader, occurred in that year.

Previous to the erection of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, the Congregationalist had put up the frame of their first church and enclosed it.  It was in this partially completed building that the Methodist church was organized and the first meeting held.  Boards were laid on blocks of wood and used as seats.  This was in the year of 1840; the house of worship was completed at cost of $750 and was paid for before its dedication in 1846, by Rev. Asa Abel, then presiding elder of the district.  This church stood about where the present church now stands.

In 1841 the first Sunday School was organized by Jason Hunt, Supt.

That building was sold to Hale Davis, and in 1862, a second edifice was erected at a cost of $2,500, and was dedicated in 1863.  In 1871 the membership of the church had outgrown it house of worship.  So they sold the building to the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Andover in that same year.  They had the building moved to their lot about 100 yards west of East Avenue. This building was torn down in 2005.

The present church was built in 1874-1875 at a cost of $13,000 and was designed to seat 700 people.  This edifice is a long standing and familiar landmark.  The bricks forming the walls were made of clay from the clay pit that was located on the Kemp farm near the site of the present overhead bridge on Route 417, west of Andover.  Sand was hauled from Baker’s Bridge (Alfred Station) by horse0drawn dump wagons.  The loyal church forefathers worked with zeal.  One man even mortgaged his farm for $1,100, and donated this to the building fund. This church was dedicated on July 18, 1875, by Rev. B. I. Ives, Celebrated Methodist Church dedicator of Auburn, N.Y.

Originally the church was distinguished by a high steeple, enclosing a fine-tone bell cast by Meneely Bell Co. of Troy, New York, in 1897.  This bell still rings from the steeple through a portion of the steeple was taken down sometime after 1910.  It was the highest steeple in the village.  There was some thought at the time that the steeple was structurally unsound, which would latter found to be untrue. Timbers from this high steeple were used in building the present parsonage, erected in 1911 next to the church.  Members of the church who were carpenter-masons built the wall for the parsonage which was completed in 1912 at a cost of $3,200, $2,000 of which had been raised before work was begun.  This replaced the parsonage which had been previously built on the same location in 1858.

During the depression years, church members held wood cutting bees in farmer’s woodlots to obtain fuel for the wood furnace.  Later gas floor furnaces were installed, the furnace in the kitchen was removed, and the chimney and the horse shed were torn down.

The Woman’s Society of Christian Service, now known as United Methodist Women, was organized in 1940.

The Sanctuary was completely remodeled in 1944 with the ceiling being lowered, walls paneled and a new organ installed.  These improvements were accomplished during the pastorate of Rev. Donald Shearer who spent much time and effort in this work

In 1963, a two-manual Hammond organ was installed and the kitchen was renovated.  In 1973 the Dining Room was renovated with suspended ceiling and paneled walls, and a new hot-water heating system installed for the entire first floor, as well as a new electrical service.  Also, during the 1972-73 year, Improvements were made as a result of receiving pew cushions, and outdoor bulletin board, and outside hanging lamps from the Park United Methodist Church of Hornell which erected a new edifice.  A $500 donation was given by the Church for this equipment.  A fire-escape was also installed on the east side of the building.  Mr. Clyde Yorton, Trustee, was chairman for these improvements.

The Church first know as the “First Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Andover” later became “The First Methodist Church” when in 1936, the “Methodist Episcopal Church,” the Methodist Church South, and the Methodist  Protestant Church United.  In 1968, it became “The United Methodist Church” due to the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist denominations.  In 1973, a Cooperative Parish of the Andover Presbyterian and Methodist Churches was formed with the Churches having combined worship services and Sunday school sessions and other cooperative ministries.  This ended in 1976 and they went back to their old ways of having services.

There have been some repairs and additions made over the years, but basically everything is still about the same.

(Below are 2009 views of building)

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