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Boundary Church

The Stone Church - cornerstone laid 1911

The original chapel built in 1893 with the beginnings of the new stone church.

More of the rebuild

The church interior

The congregation - visible in this picture are Chris and Ella Miller, Ethel Miller (his niece) and Helen Miller

*photo were found inside the actual anniversary program

Boundary Church today - picture by Google Earth

Taken from the program for the 75th Anniversary

1893-1968  Boundary United Methodist Church

Anniversary Theme: Reconciliation Now - In Light of the Past, the Present and the Future

In the year of 1968, Boundary United Methodist Church celebrates a 75th anniversary of service to the glory of God. But the story of Boundary had its beginning as far back as 1891.

On Friday evening, June 24, 1891, a cottage prayer meeting was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Stagmer, 504 New Boundary Avenue (42nd Street), Waverly, Baltimore, Maryland. The originator of this meeting was Mrs. Stagmer, who, with other in attendance, was a member of Waverly Methodist Church, which was a few miles from New Boundary Avenue. This cottage prayer meeting was the beginning of what later became Boundary Methodist Church. Those present at the original meeting were: Mr. and Mrs. George Stagmer, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Cole, Miss Sallie Monroe, Miss Ada Hedrick and Mrs. William D. Brightman.

At one of these meeting the subject of a Mission Sunday School arose. Since Waverly Church was a few miles way, it was felt that it was a handicap for the children to have to go so far in cold weather. As a result, officials at Waverly were approached and on November 8, 1891, the first session of the Mission Sunday School was held at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Cole, 506 new Boundary Avenue, with 17 in attendance including officers and teachers. At this session the collection totaled $1.20. Mr. George Stagmer was superintendent.

The Friday prayer services continued at the Cole residence until June 3, 1892, with the Coles receiving $5.00 per month for the use of heat and light in their home.

As warm weather approached, the entire prayer meeting group, women included, erected a tent on the grounds furnished free of charge by Mr. A. D. Clements for one year, after which $75 per year was to be paid as ground rent. Mr. Jacob Aull furnished the labor for the laying of a floor. Throughout the summer, Rev. W. G. Herbert, pastor of the mother church at Waverly, preached occasionally on Sunday afternoon. In the fall, meetings were again held at the Cole residence, with the Local Preachers Association providing preachers.

But very soon there was "on foot, an agitation for the erection of a chapel to accommodate the growing mission congregation and Sunday School." This plan was placed before the board of the Waverly Church and permission was obtained to build.

What was probably the first entertainment held for the purpose of raising funds for the new chapel took place on May 11, 1893. Sister Marcia Vasant, teacher of the infant class, sponsored a musical and literary program. A net profit of $47.80 was realized, and this was probably the nucleus of the building fund. Contract was let to Mr. Jacob Aull to erect at a cost of about $1350 a frame church building, and on Monday afternoon, May 1, 1893, at 4 p.m., ground was broken for the new chapel. The first spade was lifted by little Naomi Stagmer Cole, two years and nine months old. The Cornerstone was laid on Tuesday, May 23, 1893. A collection was taken - "$132.51 being realized in cash and subscriptions".

The first service held in the new chapel was on July 14, 1893, on a regular prayer meeting night. On the next day, following examination of the structure and its acceptance, the first payment of $400 was made to the builder.

Dedication exercises were held on Sunday, July 16, 1893, at 4 p.m. There was a large attendance, including the Knights of the Golden Eagle in uniform. A collection of $261.17 was realized, and in the evening meeting $10.00 was received by subscription.

A tragic accident caused great grief in the little congregation. On December 16, 1893, Mrs. Stagmer lost her life in a fire in her home. Since she had been the founder of the enterprise, her death was great shock to those who had worked so faithfully with this dedicated woman.

By April 1894, it was possible to hold two services on Sunday - - 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. The little congregation received as a gift 50 communion glasses and three waiters and on January 27, 1895, celebrated their first communion service. In March 1895, the Rev. Frank Collier was appointed minister in charge, with a salary of $250.00 per annum.

During the pastorate of Rev. Charles Evans Ely, a Primary Department Annex was added to the east side of the church.

On July 26, 1899, a congregational was called and the following trustees were elected: William H. C. Jones, William F. Williams, George J. Miller, John Q. Turner, George D. Stagmer, William R. Wheat and Al G. Bluffington. An Act of Incorporation was drawn up and signed by the trustees on August 2, 1899, thus "signaling the independence of Boundary Avenue Methodist Church situated between the Old York Road and the York Turnpike on the New City Boundary".

In 1902, $1200 was borrowed to renovate both the interior and the exterior of the church. During the pastorate of Dr. J. Thomas Hart, the remaining debt of $1088 was liquidated. This was in addition to meeting all other obligations of the church, now having an enrollment of 100.

The Sunday School had an enrollment of 110 in the main school and 85 in the Primary Department. During one year it was reported that another church school "appeared to take delight in taking scholars from us". Fourteen scholars stopped attending and were found present at the Episcopal Church Sunday School. Thirteen of these, through the efforts of the teachers, returned. One refused to return because the other school held a shorter service.

Plans for a new church were in the making and when Dr. Joel Brown became pastor, these plans became tangible. The present site was selected and the ground was purchased for $2750.00. Another church, Old Greenmount Methodist Church, was sold for $1447.65 and the Presiding Elder of the East Baltimore District gave this sum to Boundary. The remaining amount was made up in subscriptions. The Committee accepted plans submitted by Mr. Norbury McKenzie, architect, and the contract was awarded to John Cowan, Inc., for the erection of a stone structure at a cost of $13,250.00. Ground was broken Monday, May 15, 1911, and the cornerstone was laid June 24, 1911.

Boundary grew so rapidly that by 1915 more space was needed. A new addition was planned, and on August 12, 1916, the cornerstone was laid, and the church was dedicated on December 31, 1916. On April 17, 1918, a parsonage at 521 Rose Hill Terrace was bought for $1925.

During the next 30 years, the church served the community well but experienced no unusual changes. Then, during the pastorate of Lloyd Davis, stress was placed on liquidating the mortgage, which was $17,000.00 with the result that on May 20, 1946, it was triumphantly burned.

At a congregational meeting in July 1947, called by the pastor, Rev. C. E. Seymour, it was stated that the property at the southeast corner of Greenmount and Boundary Avenue could be purchased. The Trustees, upon investigating, brought back the report that the property would make an excellent parsonage. It was purchased for $20,000 in fee, with $5000 allowance for repairs. The pastor and his family moved in on November 28, 1947. The old parsonage on Rose Hill Terrace was sold for $9000. The new home was dedicated on Sunday, April 4, 1948.

Over the intervening twenty years other improvements have been made in the church, many of these as memorials to loved ones. The grounds have been landscaped. The altar has been renovated, rug and a new organ installed in the sanctuary, and quite recently, new lights were given by the Women's Society of Christian Service. The entire basement area has been renovated, and new stoves and cabinets purchased for the kitchen. The most recent project is nearly completed. This is a church parlor with adjacent kitchen and lavatory. Plan for renovating the present narthex are in the talking stage.

Reconciliation: Past, Present - a harmony and blending of dedicated service to God and to mankind in the time gone by and the present - this is the heritage that Boundary United Methodist Church brings to those who have known her since the early days. The same meaning is there for the younger generation and for the newest of members. To each there is a special meaning, a special memory. But to all, Boundary is a solid bulwark in a changing world.

Compiled by Mrs. W. Finch White

Boundary had it 75th Anniversary 2 months after my 3rd birthday. Was I there? Probably. Do I remember it? No. It had been my grandmother's girlhood church and became my father's church as well when he and Grammy returned to Baltimore. While dad ultimately joined my mother's church and then Milford Mill United Methodist, I spent my youth attending spaghetti dinners at Boundary Church and whenever my sister and I spent the night at Grammy's - we attended church with her. I thought it was kind of neat being able to walk around the corner to church.  Uncle George was one of the original trustees.  I found the old church beautiful with it's stained glass windows and dark wooden fixtures and as a child never understood why my family church didn't have the same beautiful things.

It's congregation grew elderly and began to pass away, children moved out of the city and finally the church building was sold to Faith Christian Fellowship. What was left of the tiny congregation itself merged with Govans United Methodist and the church became Govans-Boundary. The original church is now the privately funded Baltimore Christian School and continues in the vision of Mrs. Stagmer  - which is to work diligently with children to ensure their academic and spiritual growth. 



Site Content Dubhodhar 1/22/2009