Side A:(Continued on other side)
This site has long served the religious, education, and public interests of the residents of Mechanicsburg. A local Methodist congregation built its first church here in 1820, and the townspeople also used the structure as its village school. The Methodists replaced their original structure in 1837, using brick as the main building material. As the Methodist congregation grew, however, it was determined that a larger, more permanent structure was needed. As a result, the Mechanicsburg First Methodist Church was built here in 1858, and it served the congregation until 1894 when an African American based Second Baptist congregation purchased the building at a cost of $2,850. Besides religion and education, the site was also used as Mechanicsburg's first cemetery. That cemetery lasted until the Maple Grove Cemetery was established and burials at this site were relocated there.
(Continued from other side)From 1894, from the time that the Second Baptist Church purchased this property, the congregation prospered. In 1895 the Baptist Association of Ohio organized a Baptist State Convention, which was held here the following year. In 1897 the Reverend Elmer W. B. Curry, who believed that racial issues in America could only be settled gradually, established a school in the Tuskegee tradition in the Second Baptist Church. It was named the Curry Institute, but later moved to Urbana. In 1936 a fire, sparked by flames from Culbertson Buggy Works next door, damaged the church steeple forcing removal of the 1859 800-pound bell to be relocated to the more substantial Mechanicsburg School Building. The smaller and lighter School Building bell was given as replacement to the Second Baptist Church. The building is the oldest church in Mechanicsburg and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.