Geneseo UMC History


As early as 1865, religious services were held in the homes of the Geneseo settlers. As schools were built, they were also utilized for the same purpose. In 1867, articles of incorporation were filed for the construction of a church building. It was located northeast of the present church, and is now the sanctuary. About 1888, an addition was put on the south end to serve as a cloak room, corrugated metal was put on the walls and ceiling, and a reed organ was purchased. In 1909 a committee was appointed to remodel the church. The present basement was dug, and the building was moved onto it. The addition which had been on the south was placed on the north end of the building, to form the chancel, with space for the clergy, choir, and piano. A bell tower and entrance were added to the southeast corner.

About 1915, a long shed was constructed north of the church with a cement wall forming the back. It provided shelter for the teams of horses, and had hitching rings imbedded in the wall. The sheds were removed about 1950, as automobiles provided transportation for the parishioners. The walls were taken down in 2006.

In 1950 the first Lord’s Acre sale was held at the church, netting $3796.63. The two previous years sales had been held, first, by the WSCS in 1948, and the next year the church sponsored an auction at the Traer Sales Barn.

On July 10, 1951, a ground breaking ceremony was held for a 50′ x 24′ two story and basement addition to be built on the north end of the church. During the remodeling, services were held at the Geneseo Consolidated School, from October 28 until December 23, when a Christmas cantata was performed by the choir, with Mrs. Herbert Speer as director, and Mrs. Oscar Lambert as accompanist. The chancel was now at the south end of the building. Arthur Ferguson constructed new birch chancel furniture in memory of his wife, Clara.

In 1960, memorial gifts and donations provided new light oak pews, which changed the arrangement from two aisles with curved pews to one aisle and straight pews. In 1964 a new Allen organ was purchased (replacing a 1948 organ), and Roger Messerly constructed a birch chancel railing.

In 1968 the 1904 parsonage was demolished and the present one built. In 1982 a 16′ x 24′ addition to the church was constructed, consisting of a basement storage room, a first-floor extension of the narthex, and a second-story meeting room and classroom.

In 2005 an addition was added.  It included a new fellowship hall and kitchen.  New carpet was laid throughout the church. The above is a brief listing of some of the physical changes in the church property over the years. There is no way to describe or estimate the changes this church has made in people’s lives through the teachings of Jesus Christ. Hundreds of people have come and gone, and it still stands as a beacon on the hill to its members and the surrounding countryside. A much more detailed history can be found in both the 1967 and the 1992 editions of Geneseo Community History.