The Warwood Church was organized in 1905 by Rev. C. B. Graham, the District Superintendent of the Wheeling District, as the Warwood Methodist Episcopal Church. Two lots were secured from the Warwood Land Company on North 21st Street upon which to build a church. Early in 1912, the lots of North 21st Street were exchanged for a more centrally located lot at the corner of North 14th Street and Warwood Avenue. While the congregation was planning and building the “little church on the hill,” services were held first in the Glenn’s Run School House at North 22nd and Warwood Avenue and later at Loveland School House in the 300 block of Richland Avenue.
In 1912, a small frame church was built at the corner of Hildreth Avenue and North 14th Street. The Rev. W. H. Gilmore was the first regular pastor, serving from October, 1912 until October, 1914. Rev. G. J. Johnson was the second pastor and soon after he came to Warwood, the Official Board decided to secure more ground upon which to erect a larger church building. The Board of Trustees purchased the adjoining lot. These lots face one hundred and twenty feet on Warwood Avenue and extend back one hundred fifty feet to Hildreth Avenue. In 1917, an addition was built to the small church to accommodate the growing membership needs. By 1919, a building committee was organized to implement the plans for a large brick structure. To raise money, two lots on the east and south side of the parsonage at 1808 Warwood Avenue were sold. In 1924, the main part of the present church was constructed for a total cost of $66,000. Construction of an educational unit, the repair of the organ, and the upgrading of the kitchen and fellowship hall was completed in 1959 at a cost of $120,978.
In 1944, the church sold the parsonage at 1808 Warwood Avenue and purchased a house at 1508 Hildreth Avenue. In 1952, the house on Hildreth was sold and the church bought 1500 Warwood Avenue as a parsonage. In the 1970’s, the church sold this property and purchased the present parsonage at 147 N. 21st Street.
The Warwood United Methodist Church has been an important part of the religious life of the Warwood community since the town began in 1904. The first residents in Warwood were mostly people from the downtown area of Wheeling who were seeking a more suburban life. Most of them had been active members of downtown churches. Therefore, they quickly saw the need for a vital church in the new community. The early members of the church dedicated themselves to providing meaningful worship services, a productive Sunday School program, revival services, and fellowship activities.
The early church members had to carry water to the church since the “little church” had no running water. Albert Lash brought water to the church as often as needed on a mule. Other interesting stories from the early days of the church exist. Turtle soup was often sold to earn money. E. D. Elliott got turtles from the river and prepared them for cooking. The women did the cooking and Mrs. H. E. Rogers delivered the soup to residents of Warwood and outlying areas. The church women also had an apron making operation from 1921-1925. As many as 150 dozen aprons were sent at a time to a Cleveland store. Herbert Wolfe provided the materials and M. L. Wright delivered the material to the ladies in their homes in the morning as he went to work, and picked up the completed aprons on his afternoon return. They sometimes had to work all day at the Wright home. Hazel Wright Manbeck once wrote, “For years our dining room was covered with aprons. I never knew that our dining room table had a top!” The church ladies also served “The Business Man’s Lunch” at the I.O.O.F. Hall in Wheeling. They sometimes had to carry huge kettles of soup on the streetcar. If the weather was very bad, Albert Lash would deliver the soup with his white mule and sled.
Hard work, dedication, and Christian love have always been the hallmarks of the Methodist congregation in Warwood. In 2005 the church celebrated 100 years of service to God and to the people of Warwood.
This congregation has had a glorious past but what is past is just that, the past. Today we look to be in ministry to the people around us and across the globe.
We also have one eye to the future, anticipating the needs of the future and positioning ourselves to be there to serve in the name of Jesus Christ as we look forward to the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.