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Boardman Church to celebrate 125th anniversary

October 24, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Westminister Presbyterian Church, 119 Stadium Drive in Boardman, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month with a luncheon and a presentation on the church's rich history in the Mahoning Valley.

According to longtime member Andrea Armbrecht, whose father Sam Warr served as minister in the early 1950s, the church began in the Vindicator Building in Downtown Youngstown. It was organized on Nov. 6, 1893 by 152 people who left the First Presbyterian Church for a variety of reasons.

In January of 1894, the house and lot at the corner of Front and Market streets was purchased for $15,000. On Nov. 13, 1898, the cornerstone was laid for the downtown church, which was dedicated Oct. 28, 1900. The church was added onto with a new five-story education unit that opened in 1928.

Article Photos

Jerry Armbrecht and Mary Helen Hadley look over some old church booklets that show the rich history of Westminister Presbyterian Church in Boardman.

Church membership continued to grow and reached 1,350 by 1944. In the years following World War II, the suburbs of Youngstown began to grow. New homes were being built and times were good. The membership of the church saw the need to move the church and a site in Boardman, next to Stadium Drive Elementary was purchased.

"We came here in 1952," Armbrecht said. "In 1955 we moved the church to Boardman. We had two phases and a large number of people who took art. It was a large team effort."

She said the committee that was formed for the new church, hired an architect out of Philadelphia to design the new church. It took a couple designs to get the right fit.

"The committee wanted a colonial design and my father pressed for a reform style," Armbrecht said. "Placing a colonial next to a new modern elementary school (the freshly built Stadium Drive Elementary) wouldn't look good. So the architect was asked to come back with a modern style and it was unanimous."

When the Boardman move was made, church services were, for a short time, held in Stadium Drive Elementary School.

On September 25, 1960, the cornerstone of the new church was laid in place, including the original cornerstone from the first church, which was brought to Boardman. On Aug. 2, 1961 the final service was held in the downtown church. Dec. 25, 1966, the first service was held in the new sanctuary in Boardman.

The new Boardman church represented a new beginning, but still contains a lot of history from the first church. According to long-time parishioner Jerry Armbrecht, in 1968 pieces of the original stained glass from downtown were reworked and placed in the Founder's Chapel in the front of the new church.

"To this day you can see the dark staining that came from the mills in Youngstown," Jerry said.

Another interesting aspect of the Founder's Chapel lies in the furnishings. The original furnishings from the original church were used in the chapel.

On Oct. 28, the celebration after the 10:30 a.m. morning service will be opened to all members, both present and past. All will able to take a trip back in time to see how far Westminister Presbyterian Church has come.



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