The New London United Methodist Church is located at 58 East Main Street in the village. The building has served its congregation and the community since 1879.
The possibility of erecting this structure was presented at a public meeting on November 12, 1878. The purpose of the meeting was to get an expression from the town and community as to the level of desire and cooperation which might exist with the Methodist Society in the building of a new house for divine worship. The meeting was well attended and a vote of the audience resulted unanimously in favor of the proposal. On the following evening officers of the church voted to proceed with the project.
On April 16, 1879, sealed bids were received for the construction of the new church. Stone work was awarded to Beattie and Robertson of New London. Slating went to Auld and Conger of Cleveland. A.D. Kilburn of New London was awarded the painting contract. F. Barker & Son of Shelby were awarded the carpentry and plastering work. The contract for brick work went to the Messrs. Gribben of Shiloh and Slabaugh of Shelby. Stone from the Grafton quarries was contracted for by the building committee. Bricks used in the building were made by Ledgett's of New London. Sand used in the mortar came from the Vermilion River southwest of New London.
The location of the new church was to be on a lot owned by the Methodists since 1845, but before construction could begin, the old wooden church building had to be removed. It was offered for sale and the purchaser moved it to the north side of West Main Street. During the next 30 years the old church was used for a variety of business purposes and around 1910 it was demolished to make way for the building of the Karolyn movie theater.
The sale of the old wooden church left the Methodist congregation temporarily without a place for worship. They were permitted to meet in the Town Hall on South Main Street and hold services there until construction of the new church was complete.
With the lot cleared, the work began. By May 9th the excavating was finished and actual construction had begun. By the middle of June the foundation walls were nearly complete. The brick walls were approaching their full height by the end of July. The plastering was finished in September and painting followed.
A movement had begun to provide a bell for the church tower. Home talent shows, concerts, strawberry and cream socials, and individual subscriptions helped to raise the needed $500. Workmen raised and installed a 2005 pound bell from the Buckeye Bell Foundry in Cincinnati on Saturday, August 23rd while a large crowd watched. It was rung immediately for the benefit of the onlookers.
Soon after the decision to build the new church had been made, a petition was circulated to determine if the citizens and taxpayers were in favor of levying a tax of two mills on the property in the village for the purpose of purchasing a town clock to be placed in the spire of the church. The response was favorable. In order that a levy for this purpose could be made it was necessary to have legislative action by the General Assembly of the State. When all was in order, council met on August 14, 1879 and decided to purchase a Howard Tower Clock at a cost of $750. The clock arrived on November 13th and the great pendulum was set in motion on Tuesday evening, December 2, 1879.
The building was ready for use late in the year. Services in the Town Hall were held for the last time on December 21st and on December 28, 1879, dedication services were held in the new facility. The project had required 14 months from the time of its proposal to its completion. The final cost was around $11,000.
Harold Kirkpatrick, Church Historian