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Title: State Line Christian Church
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The Christian Church at State Line City, Indiana has faor more than 120 years served God and man. Many families have worshipped here for three, four, and five generations. The history of the church here begins soon after the founding of the town of State Line City and Illiana. Both towns are now generally referred to as State Line City.

The site of State Line City and Illiana was the western terminus of the Toledo & Wabash Railroad. The Great Western built and owned by another company, and a conjunction of the same route to the southwest, formed a junction here. The town of State Line immediately began to grow and prosper.

State Line City was laid out in the spring of 1857 by Robert Casement and on the suggestion of A.P. Andrews was christened by the present name. Not long afterward, that part of the town lying on the Illinois side of the state line was laid out by Parker Dresser and Ed Martin. This part of town was called Illiana. Illiana is a name formed from the first two syllables of Illinois and the last two syllables of Indiana.

Some of the first stores were operated by Brier & Andrews, William Toole, Harvey Barkley, and Boyd & Partlow. Dr. A.M. Porter was the first resident doctor to serve the community.

Soon after the founding of the town, the Christian Church was organized here. The church was formed about 1858. Early church records listing the names of the earliest members list Robert Munnell as the first person on the church roll. Not much is known about the church's history between 18585 and 1864. It is noteworthy that the church was in existence when President Lincoln stopped in State Line City on the way to his inauguration in Washington D.C. Certainly some members were present on that day. Years later at the dedication of the Lincoln Marker which stands at the northwest corner of the city park, ladies of the Christian Church and the Methodist Church served a big dinner to the crowd gathered for the event.

The church history becomes more defined in 1864 when in the summer Jacob Wright came to State Line City. He began holding meetings in local seminary. The church flourished and a reorganizational meeting was held on November 28, 1868. Officers were elected as follows: Trustees - George A. Miller, Asa Duncan, John H. Braden, James H. Simpson and James Hoover; Elders - Robert Munnell, Oliver Osborn, and Asa Duncan; Deacons - Asa Duncan, John Linsey, George Miller, and John H. Braden. The Church Clerk was Allen H. Simpson.

The present brick church house was began in 1867 and completed in 1868. The original building was 36x54 feet and 18 feet from floor to the ceiling. The total cost for the structure was $3000. Over the years the building began to settle and cracks developed in both the north and south walls. A local man, Willis Finney, engineered the job of pulling the buildin back together. Mr. Finney placed huge rods linked together the length of both walls. These rods extended to the outside of the east and west walls about 15 feet from the floor. Iron stairs were placed over the ends of the rods on the outside of the building and large nuts were threaded on the rods and tightened until the building was literally pulled back together. Both the iron rods inside the building and iron stairs on the outside are to be seen today.

Between 1868 and 1890 the church continued to grow. In 1890 the church felt strong enough to send out its own missionary, Miss Ada Boyd, to India.

In 1900 an arch was cut in the east wall of the auditorium and two new classrooms were added to the original building. The alcove now containes the church baptistry. The original pool had been replaced by a new Fiberglas baptistry. The water in the pool is warmed before each baptism.

The luxury of the heated pool was unknown to many of the early members who baptized in outside streams and ponds. The cross over the baptistry was crafted by Robey Swisher and presented to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Swisher.

The church has always sought to maintain the church house in good repair. About 1932 the plain glass windows were replaced with stained glass windows. The church still has the original sample stained glass panel made by the company who installed the windows. This panel was used to show the congregation how the new windows would look. The windows are done in green and gold and are beautful. There is a story behind the windows that is interesting. About 1910 the Willing Workers ladies society had the church beautifully redecorated. The ceiling was painted with a large flowered oval and the clear glass windows were painted green. This was a great improvement. When the stained glass windows were installed the green color was kept. The committee in charge of the renovation was made up of Mrs. Minerva Allison, Mrs. Fannie Clem, and Mrs. Anna Elder.

Until 1949, the church was heated by two coal heaters, one on the north wall of the auditorium and one on the south wall. The flu pipes for the heaters had to be replaced from time to time and the Church Clerk kept a diagram completed with the exact measurements for the pipes. This saved time measuring them when they had to be replaced. This diagram was found among the church records of Paul Clem, passed down to him from his father, Louis Clem, who was the Church Treasurer in 1919. In 1949 the coal heaters were replaced by a new gas furnace.

Also among Mr. Clem's records are found copies of the wills of Mr. B.F. Bonebrake and Mr. William H. Allison. These early leaders of the church each left farm land to the church in their wills. Mr. Bonebrake left the church 100 acres and Mr. Allison left 40 acres. The proceeds of Bonebrake land "are to be paid toward salary only of the pastor of said Church yearly". The proceeds of the Allison land go "for the general purposes of the church". The church still benefits from the generosity of these men.

Among the records of Mr. Clem can also be found a bank book, a commercial note, and a check indicating that the church did business with the State Line City Bank of Illiana, Illinois.

In the spring of 1964, the interior of the church house was fully renovated. New carpet was laid and new pulpit furniture was installed. On July 11, 1966, ground was broken for a new addition. An educational building was built on the east and north side of the addition of 1900. This new addition included four classrooms, one containing kitched facilities. One of the church members, Edward Kizer of Danville, Illinois, was the contractror.

The new addition was dedicated by Mr. Hugh Ridlen who served the church as minister from 1956 to 1966. Mr. and Mrs. Ridlen are held in high esteem and fondly remembered although both are new deceased. During the years Mr. Ridlen served the church he was also director of Hanging Rock Camp of West Lebanon, Indiana. Other ministers including James McKowen and Dean Schrumph served the church and the Hanging Rock Camp in the same capacity.

In October of 1968, the church celebrated its 100th anniversary with an all day meeting. A basket dinner was served after the morning services and the afternoon program concluded with a message brought by Mr. Ridlen who at that time lived in Florida.

During the last 20 years the church has continued to maintain the church house in the manner of those who kept the building in good repair the first one hundred years. The exterior of the original building has been tuckpointed and sealed. The interior of the auditorium has been redecorated. New church lighting has been installed, the entire church has been air-conditioned, cryrooms ahve been enclosed and also serve as small Sunday School classrooms, and the educational building has been carpeted. The Church also has bought a Baldwin liturgical organ and a Walker piano. The church sign designed and built by Edward Kizer of Danville, Illinois was erected on the front lawn of the church.

The history of the church would not be complete without the mention of the Christian Women's Fellowship. The Christian Women's Fellowship, known to the church as CWF, was formed as the Ladies Aid Society sometime before 1887. At the turn of the century, the ladies of the church also organized a W.C.T.U. Society. Later, the Ladies Aid Society changed its name to the Willing Workers but their purpose remained the same. The ladies were always there to give aid to and provide for the church.

Over the years the CWF has been involved in many projects to help the church. Some of these undertakings have already been mentioned. In 1964, the Society gave $300 earned over the years serving suppers, farm sale lunches, and other project toward the purchase of new pews for the church.

The CWF continues today vitally involved in all phases of the church's life. Not only do they serve the church at home in many ways, but they are involved in giving to missions both foreign and domestic.

The program of the church today includes Sunday School, morning worship, Bible study, youth meetings, and Vacation Bible School. While caring for the needs of the church through these activities, the church also supports four major mission projects. The church has been associated with Lincoln Christian College at Lincoln, Illinois since the college was founded. Dr. Charles Mills, who served the college for many years as vice-president was the minister at State Line Christian Church from 1939-40. The church also supports Hanging Rock Christian Assembly. The church's close connection with the camp has been previously mentioned. The church also supports Cookston Hills Children's Home in Oklahoma where former minister Dean Schrumpf is the principal of the school and Mrs. Chrumpf also teaches. Mr. and Mrs. Dale Cope and son Matt formerly of the church as house parents. The church's other major mission to Mountain Mission School at Grundy, Virginia.

A special thanks to Mrs. Mildred Edwards, Church Clerk, and Mrs. Paul Clem, long-time trustee and church elder, for supply the materials for this article. Thanks also to Mrs. Edwards for the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Ridlen and to Mr. Don Stanton, one of the deacons of the church, for the photos of the church house.

Date: 8/1/1989
Origin: Good Ol' Days
Author: Gerald W. Burt
Record ID: 00000138
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

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