City Administrators are Considering Demolishing 118 Year-old Historic Black Church
Church Much Older Than Most Previously Believed
by David Miller
Loveland, Ohio - These LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEOS are from a conversation between Paula Oguah, and Larry Hamilton about the early history of the Loveland Predestinarian Baptist Church (LPBC). The conversation took place in the Loveland Magazine TV Studio.
This story and accompanying video represents 3 months of study, interviews, and research into the chronological record of this historic Loveland landmark.
The church is at the end of Chestnut Street, behind the Loveland Artists Studios on Main Street and one block from the Loveland Post Office. The street address is 225 Chestnut Street. The church building was last occupied by a congregation named Mt. Calvary Baptist, and is now vacant. Oguah and Hamilton, by going through records have documented much of the building’s early history. It is currently owned by Loveland residents, when city administrators paid back assessments on the 0.175 acre property on February 13, 2012. City administrators are considering demolishing the church to make way for redevelopment of the area.
From a review of early documents, such as the land sale contract, and the recording of the deed, it is believed that the church was erected by 1894.
Hamilton a native of Loveland is a retired teacher of African American History, World Studies, and Current Events who now lives in Piqua, OH. His family was intimately involved in the founding of LPBC and the construction of the church building. He is the author of Lucy’s Story - Right Choices But Wrongs Still Left, the historical account of his great-great-grandmother — a slave during the Civil War, who later lived and died in Loveland. Hamilton was a baptized member of LPBC and his grandmother Esther Hannon Hamilton taught his Sunday school class.
Oguah is “Forth Generation Loveland” and a current resident, living only one block from the Church. She travels often to Africa, and is an attorney with a private practice in Loveland. She grew up in Loveland, and her familiy, the Cobbs, were also intimately involved in the earliest of the Church’s history. Oguah’s family at one time was considered a backbone of the Loveland social and business community. Oguah’s great-grandfather Dennis Cobb reportedly helped lay the stone foundation to the church, and she was married in the church.
Documents from the Ohio Historical Society say the LPBC was founded in 1877 in Loveland when they held services in a shared building on Hill Street. Three Black churches met in a building that stood behind where the Loveland Post Office is now located and the Cobbs' store. The one remaining congregation is the still vibrant, First Missionary Baptist Church on Main Street pastored by Rev. Christopher Hamilton.
Hamilton has a document that reads, “It was ordered that the business of the Association (Colored Tates Creek Baptist Association) be governed by the covenants and resolutions adopted in the minutes of the Session of August 1873.” The documents in Hamilton’s possession name many of the people who moved to Loveland to establish the LPBC.
Some blacks migrated to Loveland following whites that they were associated with in terms of a slave background. According to Hamilton, people came in search of work or were following whites who promised they would provide work or become “Domestics”. As a result of one or two families coming to Loveland, “as word spread” other relatives followed.
“Well, it’s a pretty good environment, people are nice, and you could have a go at it in terms of a better life,” Hamilton explains.
Oguah said, “I think people migrated for better opportunities and families follow each other. The big sister came. The brother came. But, it was also because the church family had become so well established here in Loveland.”
The first time the Loveland Church hosted the Tates Creek Predestinarian Baptist Church Association was on Friday, August 23, 1890, according to Hamilton’s documents. He said that his great-great grandmother Lucy Ross attended the “Mother Church” in Richmond and is listed as one of the founders of the LPBC. “Her family came to Loveland in the late 1880s, early 1890s. I know they were in Loveland at that time.”
Hamilton County Auditor list the year the church was built as 1930, however the land on Chestnut St. was purchased from Phillip Roller in 1892 leading to construction of new church at the current site. Hamilton believes the building was erected by 1894.
- 1783 -white pioneers and their black slaves build Tates Creek in Madison, County, KY.
- 1846- land is deeded to black trustees to build the African Predestinarian Baptist Church later referred to by blacks as the ‘Mother Church’ in Richmond, KY.
- 1873 – following the Civil War there is total independence from white congregants and the first Colored Tates Creek Baptist Association meets at Richmond.
- 1880’s –Rev. Leroy Estill creates a controversy in attempting to expel members who had become involved in secretive ‘Masonic’ societies. He leaves the ‘Mother Church’ and becomes the first pastor of the new Loveland congregation.
- 1890- The Loveland Predestinarian Baptist Church plays host to the member churches of the Colored Tates Creek Baptist Association.
- 1892- Land on Chestnut St. purchased from Phillip Roller leads to construction of new church at the current site. (225 Chestnut).
- Church Erected 1892-1894.
- 1914- Rev. John Hannon (Hamilton’s g-grandfather) becomes pastor and leads the church until his death in 1952.
- 1973-100th anniversary is celebrated in Richmond with John Hannon’s daughter Esther Hamilton honored as the oldest member attending the Association.
- 2001- Rev. John Mackey dies membership declines further and the church is later sold and subsequently abandoned and falls into a state of disrepair.
- 2011 -The City of Loveland purchases the property and begins consideration of demolition.
Residents Speak Out to Save Historic Landmark
Loveland, Ohio - After Loveland Magazine reported on April 4 that the historic church at the end of Chestnut Street was set for demolition, efforts to save the historic Black Church were amplified at last week’s City Council meeting when four residents urged that it not be torn down. These LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEOS are of the speakers at the meeting.