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Euclid Avenue Congregational Church Lost to Fire

Updated on February 10, 2011
Euclid Avenue Congregational Church
Euclid Avenue Congregational Church

Depicted above as it appeared just a few weeks ago, The Euclid Avenue Congregational Church in Cleveland, Ohio, succumbed to a massive blaze on March 23rd. The city has thereby lost another of its great historic inner-city churches, a rich stone structure that housed a 182-year-old congregation.

That congregation, originally organized in 1843 as the First Presbyterian Church of East Cleveland, sprang from the 1828 Sunday school of early Clevelander Sally Cozad Mather Hale. It met in homes and barns for several years, until a simple brick church structure was erected, in 1845, at what is now East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue.

The congregation continued as mainstream Presbyterian until 1852, before undertaking a decade of service as an Independent Presbyterian Church. In 1862, the faithful donned yet another new mantle, becoming the First Congregational Church of East Cleveland, part of the United Church of Christ.

By 1868, a newer and larger church of sandstone and brick had been dedicated at the modern-day church site of East 96th Street and Euclid Avenue. A further name change made it the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church. The most recent church structure — a beautiful and stately Romanesque edifice of Ohio sandstone — was completed and dedicated in late 1887. It was substantially renovated in the 1980s.

The fierce fire that raged through the church in the early hours of March 23rd was presumed to have been ignited by lightning accompanying the stormy night. At sunrise, only portions of the blackened stone exterior walls of the church remained after firefighters had brought the blaze under control. Damage was limited to the church grounds, with nearby buildings of The Cleveland Clinic exposed only to minor smoke infiltration. Lost in the fire were all interior contents of the church, including a grand pipe organ, exquisite stained glass windows, rare historical documents and valued artwork.

In addition to providing a wondrous house of worship, the multiracial and multicultural Euclid Avenue Congregational Church has also supplied needed community outreach programs to all East Clevelanders.

A marker9606 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio -
9606 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
get directions

Another of Cleveland's many classic churches lost for all time.


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