Windermere United Methodist Church Records

The Windermere United Methodist Church of East Cleveland, Ohio, was informally organized in the 1890s. In 1899, the society to establish a permanent church was organized. Services were held 1902-1909 in the Old Euclid Avenue Road House at Euclid and Holyoke Avenues, as the Windermere Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1909, a new church, designed by architect J. B. Fulton and located at the Euclid and Holyoke Avenues site, was dedicated. Early pastors included Reverends Ner W. Stroup, E. A. Jester, Harry B. Lewis, W. B. Armington, and Battelle McCarthy. By 1915 it had 910 members. In the 1920s, a parsonage and hall were built. In 1939, with a merger on the national level of various Methodist bodies, the name was changed to Windermere Methodist Church. Membership grew to over 1800 by 1958. In 1946, the church, with the exception of the church tower and hall, was destroyed by fire. A new church, designed by the architectural firm of Maier, Walsh, and Dickerson, was completed in 1954. The Austin Memorial Chapel, designed by Travis Gower Walsh and Associates, was dedicated in 1962. In 1968, with another national church merger that created the United Methodist Church, the name was changed to Windermere United Methodist Church. In the 1960s, Windermere United Methodist Church struggled to develop an integrated church, and joined the East Side Cooperative Ministry in order to coordinate a ministerial plan for the rapidly changing population. Services included halfway houses, daycare, and neighborhood recreation programs. Predominantly African-American in membership by the 1980s, Windermere United Methodist Church was well known for its community outreach efforts, including Cleveland Food Rescue, anti-drug and gang programs for youth, daycare services, and other community redevelopment efforts. In 2000 the Austin Memorial Foundation gave the Windermere Taskforce-East Cleveland Initiative a grant to utilize the church facilities to expand community programs. In 2013, the church building was deemed unsafe by the church trustees, and the remaining 50 church members voted to move to Church of the Savior Methodist Church in Cleveland Heights. The Windermere church property was turned over to the North Coast District of the United Methodist Church in 2013. The collection consists of articles of incorporation, blueprints, construction specifications, contracts, correspondence, directories, financial document, histories, legal documents, lists, membership books, minutes, newspaper clippings, programs, proposals, publications, reports, a scrapbook, and surveys.

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