Contains records, finance material, and publications from throughout the history of Grinnell's United Church of Christ-Congregational, roughly 1850-2000s.
(Information gleaned from the UCC's Centennial Booklet, published in 1955, and Memories, Legacies Challenges: 150 Years in the Life of Grinnell's United Church of Christ-Congregational):
In 1854, almost immediately upon their arrival, J.B. Grinnell and the other settlers in the area began worship services. Though they were held as Congregational events, settlers of any faith or creed were welcome at these meetings. One year later, the First Congregational Church of Grinnell was founded. The first permanent church building was constructed in 1860, and the years that followed saw the congregation growing steadily in size. In 1877, the cornerstone for what is now known as the Old Stone Church was laid, and over the next 74 years it would expand to hold 1,000 and host events as prominent as the General Association meeting of the Congregational Christian Church. In 1953, the new church was dedicated, and the UCC has been flourishing there since.
The growth of the church and the town are closely intertwined. The founding members of the church, listed below, were instrumental in developing the town's abolitionist spirit, helping the needy of the town, and bringing Iowa College from Davenport to Grinnell. The character and leadership of the church helped ensure the college's early success, and when the tornado of 1882 struck, the church proved vital to the recovery effort. In the history of the town of Grinnell, it would be difficult to argue that any institution has played a larger role than the Congregational Church.
The charter members of the First Congregational Church of Grinnell:
Rev. J.B. Grinnell, Mrs. Julia A. Grinnell, William R. Ford, Mrs. Lydia W. Ford, Thomas Holyoke, M.D., Mrs. Marc C. Holyoke, Gideon Gardner, Mrs. Naomi Gardner, Anor Scott, Mrs. Harriet B. Scott, Emory S. Bartlett, Sumner Bixby, Mrs. Sarah H. Bixby, Miss Lucy Bixby, Abraham Whitcomb, Mrs. Mary Whitcomb, Levi H. Marsh, Mrs. Charlotte Patterson.