History

Brief History of Pickford Presbyterian Church:

The Benton Presbyterian Church was built in Mackinac County, Marquette township on the Henry Garbe farm (north corner of M-129 and James St., now a vacant lot in 2014).  It was a small white church and stood about where the old Marquette township hall was located.  It was organized May 10, 1883 by Rev. T. D. Davis.  In 1887 the Benton Church was disbanded and by order of the Lake Superior Presbytery its membership was transferred to the Pickford Presbyterian Church.  The first minister of the newly named church was Rev. M. A. Alleyn with Rev. H. Condy as first Moderator of the session.

On July 19, 1888 the officers of this church met to consider building a manse.  Because of lack of funds they deemed it necessary to erect only part of the house, the kitchen, which would be 18 x 24 feet.  This beginning part of the manse burned August 16, 1901.

Mention is made in records of the purchase of hymnals and a church bell in 1901.  On Monday, September 20, 1915 work of repairing the church was begun.  A new foundation was put under the building and it was re-plastered.  This work was sponsored by the Ladies Aid Society.

First Presbyterian Church of Pickford in 1902

First Presbyterian Church of Pickford in 1902

With the congregation enlarging the people felt a new building was necessary.  Property was purchased at the north edge of town on the east side of M-129, 190 W. John St.  The cornerstone for the second church, which was a wood frame structure, was laid on July 16, 1902 and was named First Presbyterian Church.  Rev. J. S. Jewell was pastor at this time and it was dedicated December 21, 1902.  The combined cost of the church building and horse sheds was $3,800.

In November 1913 plans were made for construction of a new manse.  On February 20, 1939 the First Presbyterian Church was destroyed by fire.  A terrible blizzard was raging that Sunday afternoon and the manse would have burned too, as well as several other homes that were nearby, if it had not been for county highway men using a snow blower.  Snow was blown on the roof of the manse to stop the flying embers.  The only furnishings saved from the church were a few chairs.

On April 18, 1939 the congregation gathered in the town High School; their decision was to build again.  The construction of a wood and brick building began August 1 of that year on the site of the burned building.  Rev. Frank Mease was the new pastor.  The cornerstone was laid September 13, 1939 and the church was dedicated December 26, 1939.  In December of 1959 the name changed to United Presbyterian Church.

The congregation kept growing.  In 1960 the members voted to enlarge the church, so they purchased 4 lots to the north of the church and manse.  The manse was moved from behind the church to the northeast lot facing Elmo St.  The other three lots were made into a parking lot. Architects were secured and soon plans were presented to the congregation that would double the length of the church.  The plans were accepted and when construction was complete there was a much larger sanctuary, more spacious Sunday School area, a Chapel, enlarged kitchen and social hall and a car port.  During the time of construction services were held in the high school gymnasium.  The cornerstone was laid July 29, 1962 and the dedication of the church was August 16, 1964.

On Easter Sunday, April 22, 1973, the morning service featured the recognition of the newly dedicated Elizabeth Kennedy Memorial Library.  Another event which made the year 1973 outstanding was the replacing of the old manse with a beautiful new ranch-style structure which was started the first of May and was occupied by mid-October.  It was paid for shortly thereafter. The old manse was moved in November to a lot one block away. The Pickford community centennial was 1977 and to show pride in church and community the exterior wood was given a new coat of paint and new carpet was installed in the narthex.  In February 1990 United was dropped from the name and we became Pickford Presbyterian Church once again.

Faithful dedicated ancestors working hard have given us a firm foundation for a bright future. God has blessed us.

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