Verde Heritage 1926: JEROME; Landmark Church to be Demolished

Heavy rains caused the building to slip 1 foot by April 13, and almost 3 feet by April 20. The Baptist Church had been dedicated on September 29, 1895. Later, the building became the Congregational Church. Then, after a fire, the building became the Episcopal Church.

"CHURCH DAMAGED: The ground beneath the Episcopal Church slipped badly following the recent heavy rains and the entire building moved almost a foot down the hill. After a thorough examination had been made by the engineers of the United Verde Copper Company, it was decided that the structure is unsafe for occupancy, at least until extensive work can be done in the way of retaining walls, etc. The organ, pianos and other articles of value were removed yesterday afternoon and it is hoped that arrangements for conducting services in some other building may be made this week. Rev. Bertram Cocks, canon of the cathedral at Phoenix, was sent up by Bishop Mitchell to look over the situation and he will advise with the vestry as to the best temporary relief for the situation."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Tuesday, April 13, 1926; page 1.)

"CANON VISITS: Rev. Bertrand R. Cocks, canon of the Protestant Episcopal cathedral at Phoenix, and general missionary for the diocese of Arizona, was in camp yesterday investigating the condition of the church building in Jerome which is slowly slipping down the hill and which will require much work before it can be used. Canon Cocks stated that no definite plans have been made or can be made until a complete engineering report is received, but that, in the meantime, arrangements would be made whereby services can be continued."

(Verde Copper News; Tuesday, April 13, 1926; page 1.)

"BISHOP VISITS: Right Rev. Walter Mitchell, D.D., bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Arizona, was in camp yesterday afternoon for a brief visit. He was accompanied by Mrs. Mitchel and their son and by Rev. J. B. Nichols, of Prescott, Mrs. Nichols and their daughter. The bishop looked over the local church building which has been put completely out of commission by a slip of ground and stated that plans will be made very shortly for the erection of a new church. The bishop has been at Prescott this week, presiding over the annual convocation of the diocese which is now in session there and which concluded its meetings yesterday."

"EPISCOPAL SERVICES IN LODGE HALL TOMORROW: Notwithstanding the complete loss of the church plant, the vestry and congregation of the Episcopal Church will continue to hold services as usual, the first to be held tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock in the lodge room in the Miller Building. Sunday school will be held at 10 o'clock in the same place."

"It is hoped that a new church can be built this summer, but no definite plans have ben made as yet. Bishop Mitchell was in camp for a short time yesterday afternoon and stated that a beginning has been made already, in the making of arrangements for early construction of a suitable chrch office. It is his opinion, and that of the vestry as well, that the loss of the old church is, perhaps, only a blessing in disguise, as the old building could not have lasted much longer in any case."

"KINDLY SYMPATHY: The vestry has asked the 'Verde Copper News' to express its profound thanks and those of the congregation to Rev. J. T. Black and the congregation of Haven Methodist Church, who immediately offered the use of their church building, and also to Rev. Felix Beperet, rector of the Church of the Holy Family, for his expressions of sympathy and regret conveyed through Rev. Fr. C. Bartusch, priest in charge, Clarkdale."

"Arrangements had already been made for the use of the lodge room in the Miller Building and it was felt that the church services could be held there temporarily without putting the pastor and congregation of the Haven church to the inconvenience that would necessarily follow an attempt to hold Sunday school and services there. The kindly offer is none the less appreciated."

"ARCHDEACON COMING: Ven. Archdeacon J. R. Jenkins will be here on Sunday and will conduct the 11 o'clock service. It is hoped that every member of the congregation will attend this service after which there will be an informational meeting to discuss the situation and the plans for the immediate future."

"A TOTAL LOSS: The old church may be considered a total loss, as it has moved more than two feet and is so badly warped and strained that repairs would be well nigh impossible. The organ, pianos, altar furnishings and everything else moveable have been taken out and stored and it is probable that the work of demolishing the structure which is almost one of the landmarks of the town, will be begun at once."

(Verde Copper News; Friday, April 16, 1926: page 1.)

"LANDMARK OF JEROME WILL DISAPPEAR AS CHURCH IS WRECKED"

"One of the ancient landmarks of Jerome will disappear within the next week when the building now occupied by the Episcopal Church will be wrecked."

"It is more than a quarter of a century ago that the old church building was put up by the Baptist denomination, which in turn, was succeeded [in 1899] by the Congregational congregation and later by the Episcopal Church."

"The first structure was built by the Baptists in 1895, and the Catholic Church was built on the present site in 1898, although a Catholic Church had been erected several years previously, on a site further up the hill." [It was a frame building built by Father H. Granjon, and burned in 1898.]

"Old timers will recall, perhaps, that the church building was burned in 1904, but the damage was confined to the interior and was promptly repaired. It was shortly after the fire that the Episcopal Church took title to the land and the building and services have been held from that time to the present."

"IS TOTAL LOSS: Surveys made within the past two or three days indicate that there is no hope of saving the structure, which has moved almost three feet, and the only solution of the problem is the complete wrecking and removal of the building."

"The plans for the future are not completely made, but it can be stated with every assurance, that a new church will be built as quickly as possible and that in the meantime, the regular Sunday services and Sunday school will be continued. One of the lodge halls in the Miller Building will be utilized and the services will be in charge of Gordon Hoopman, lay reader. More complete announcements will be made."

"TO WRECK CHURCH: The vestry of the Episcopal Church is advertising for proposals to wreck the church building and the attention of contractors is called to the advertisement. The work is to be begun at once and must be completed within 10 days."

(Verde Copper News; Tuesday, April 20, 1926; page 1.)

The cornerstone for the new church was laid by George McMillan during a ceremony on June 19, 1927. The contractor was Frederick Anthony, a builder from Phoenix. This Spanish Mission Style building was used as a church until the mines closed and most of the church members left Jerome. The stained glass windows and furnishings were removed for use in other places.

The Protestant Episcopal Church Corporation sold the property and building for $170. to the Jerome Historical Society on August 14, 1954. Floods and a mud slide damaged the west wall. The Jerome Historical Society restored the building during 1974. The building was used as an assembly hall and theater until 1987, when the Jerome Historical Society moved its administrative offices, library and archives into the old church.

The building will be open, with interesting displays, during the JEROME HISTORIC HOME AND BUILDING TOUR on May 20 and 21.

See: The Verde Independent; "1895: JEROME; Baptist Church Dedication, September 29;" September 30, 2014.

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