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Smithville Community Historical Society,
P.O. Box 12, Smithville, OH   44677
Phone: 330 669-9308 
Last updated 14 March 2017
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 Welcome to the Smithville Community Historical Society online.

The Mishler Weaving Mill continues to be open
on Wednesday afternoons
1:30 to 4:00 year round.  No Fee.
Please visit!
381 East Main St, Smithville, OH

Church of GodApril 3, General Meeting, 7 P.M.
  To many people it is just another church, but to many people of Smithville it is their home with God. Over the years there were many Baptisms, Marriages, and Burial services that took place within the walls of this church.
  It takes a belief and doctrine to create the church. In 1830 John Winnebrenner who was born March 25, 1797 in Glade Valley, Maryland, educated at Dickson College in Carlisle, PA, ordained in the German Reform Church 1820 to vision the founding of this religious group. He broke away from the German Reform with five other men to create the Church of God in 1825. They believed in baptism by immersion, communion and feet washing. Christian Alleman would come to the Wayne County area in 1839 where members met in homes. Upon the death of Mr. Alleman the group scattered but would reorganize in 1841 and meet in a log cabin near the John Grant home. The next sanctuary was a log building on the current site of the K of P hall on Main Street. Let it be noted in 1882 the General Eldership of the Church of God in North America established Findlay College (modern-day University of Findlay). In 1942, Findlay College established a graduate program in theology. This program became the Winebrenner Theological Seminary in 1961, when it separated from Findlay College and began granting its own degrees.
  The current structure, built in 1867 which we will discuss, is situated at the corner of Eberly Drive and Milton Street in Smithville on property that was donated by John and Mary Zimmerman, they also donated a sum of money for the construction of the church. John Willaman gave $1000 to purchase the bell, Jacob Paul fired the bricks, Daniel Kiefer constructed the 117 foot bell tower, other members donated as they were able. There are three arched stained glass windows on each side and two round rosette windows and two arched stained glass windows in the front which faces South. The double door entry were replacements as the doors have changed several times. As the picture shows the church was originally built of brick but in the 1920's stucco was used to cover the bricks to preserve the structure. It was originally painted beige and then in recent years painted gray.
  Ninety years later the church celebrated an anniversary and Rev. Snavely wrote that some dissension among members which was thought to have been caused by decisions made by the elders caused a decline in membership. But early in the 1920's the church enjoyed renewed growth and remodeling took place. The outer walls were stuccoed to protect the soft hand fired bricks. The bell tower was lowered to it's present height and a furnace was installed to replace the bot bellied stoves that were the original source of heat.
  At one time there were as many as 300 parishioners with the church providing a library, Christian education and a meeting place for many groups. In 1967 a Sunday School wing was added to the church. However in recent years, membership had declined to the point that the congregation could  not continue. The remaining church membership voted to donate the building to the Smithville Community Historical Society on June 15, 2005. Since that time with good stewardship in mind the society has repaired the rosette windows. Added a public address system to be used during the many meetings that would be held there. New roofs have been installed on both the sanctuary and education building. Coming repairs will take place on the interior.

  This brings us to this landmark year 2017 the 150th Anniversary of this, the oldest Church of God standing in Ohio.  On Monday, April 3 at 7 P.M. we will celebrate the occasion with an “Old Fashion Hymn Sing”, and bits of history about the building. We invite anyone who was baptized or married in the church to come and share their story and pictures.
  We will have a brief business meeting and refreshments will follow the program served by Pat Keirstead and Margo Stafford.

Progress on the Downey Pioneer Visitors Center

Weather warmed for a couple of weeks and our Amish craftsmen were back to work. The chinking is completed on the outside but the plastic will remain to help with the drying process.  The structure contains 10 windows which have been crafted by Amish craftsmen using glass that is over 100 years old. They are mostly installed and will be completed once weather permits.  The view that you are looking will have a porch across the complete front which faces south as do the other houses in the village. There is much behind the scenes infrastructure work taking place. Door designs have been discussed and there will be a small porch at the door that faces State Route 585.  Once the construction is complete the decision will be made as to which artifacts will go on display on the second floor with the first floor being rotating displays.

Buildings Index

Current Newsletter

Group Tour Information

Purpose of the Society

Membership: How to Join

Map of Smithville

Thanks to all the Volunteers who make this society possible!

Other than the group tours,
the Mishler Weaving Mill is open
to visitors on Wednesday afternoons
1:30 to 4:00 year round.  No Fee.
Please visit!
381 East Main St, Smithville, OH

Note:  “The Village Pottery is open when his sign is out front.”

Historical Society Reception Center
at 391˝ East Main Street [State Route 585]
Smithville, Wayne County, Ohio, in front of the Mishler Weaving Mill.  


All programs begin at 7:00 P.M. and are held at the historic Church of God UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
GENERAL MEETINGS – For members and guests

Generally the first Monday of each month
Short business meeting, program, refreshments
Held at the Historic Church of God
Officers meet the third Monday of the month at the Reception Center – Open meeting

January 2 General Meeting at 7 P.M. Program “Pump Organ Musical”; Featuring Wilbur Herr and Neil Jackson.
Hostess: Kathy Meitzler.

January 16 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.

February 6 General Meeting at 7 P.M. Program presented by Robert Haag discussing Indian Arrowheads.
Hostesses: Dorine Widder and Nancy King.

February 20 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.

March 6 General Meeting at 7 P.M. Program “A video History of Smithville,” presented by Dan Kaufman
Hostess: Lila Smucker

March 20 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.

April 3 General Meeting at 7 P.M. Program “Hymns: Old and New”; commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the historic Church of God and its service to the faith community.
Hostesses: Pat Keirstead, Margo Stafford

April 17 Board of Trustees Meeting 7 P.M.

May 1 General Meeting at 7 P.M. Program “Dairy Bottles Collection”; presented by Sue McFadden, referencing Louis McFadden's Book, Ohio Dairies.
Hostesses: Barb Mast, Ruth Chambers

May 15 Board of Trustees Meeting 7 P.M.

Sunday, May 21 Open House Donor Appreciation 1:30 – 4 P.M.:
baseball Stars play the Mohican 9.     

June 5 General Meeting ROAD TRIP! Travel to Kidron for a tour of Lehman Hardware led by Glenda Lehman Irvin and her father, followed by lunch at the Hardware Cafe. Tour will be from 10-12. After lunch, you are free to shop or sight see in some other area attractions.

Saturday, June 17 Open House Family & Farm 1:30 – 4 P.M.:
baseball Stars play the Wyandotte Ghost-riders

June 19 Board of Trustees Meeting 7 P.M.

July 3 General Meeting ROAD TRIP! Travel into Holmes County to tour the Holmes Co. Pottery. The tour will begin at 4 P.M., followed by supper at nearby restaurant, TBA NO FEE.

Sunday, July 16 Open House Band Concert & Ice Cream Social 1:30 – 4 P.M.

July 17 Board of Trustees Meeting 7 P.M.

August7 General Meeting ROAD TRIP! Travel into southern Wayne County to the Moreland Historical Society's restored township building. We will eat at a nearby restaurant, TBA, then begin the tour of the building at 7 P.M. NO FEE

Saturday, August 19 Open House and Antique Market 10 A.M. – 4 P.M.:
baseball Stars play the Mansfield Independents

August 21 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.


Sunday, September 17 Open House Model-T & Antique Auto's Day 1:30 – 4 P.M.:
baseball Stars play the Akron Black Stockings

September 18 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.

October 2 General Meeting Annual Picnic at Rex & Diane Miller's home, at 5:30 P.M. Bring food to be shared and your own table service. Beverage provided. Program Mike Follin as Dr. Bathasar, traveling medicine man of the 1800’s.

October 16 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.

October 21 Open House Apple Butter Making 1:30 – 4 P.M.

November 6 General Meeting at 7 P.M. Program “Plan for Your Stuff”; presented by Andrew Richmond, estate consultant and appraiser.

Hostess: Linda Platt

November 20 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.

Saturday, December 2 Christmas in the Village 6 – 8:30 P.M.

Sunday, December 3 Christmas in the Village 1:30 – 4 P.M. Concert at 3:30 P.M.

December4 General Meeting at 7 P.M. General meeting will be held at the Smithville Brethren Church at 7 P.M. The church's Bell Choir will present our program.  Members are to bring cookies, beverage will be furnished by the officers and board of trustees.


December 18 Board of Trustees Meeting at 7 P.M.


See schedule above for play dates.

See the Smithville Stars on

Taping took place at the Society buildings on 7 May 2013.
See still photos here.

Some help in researching families
in the Smithville area
[Sorry, we can't help you with genealogy research.]
Past SCHS Newsletter Clippings
Smithville News from the Past

  Please help identify
the people in the photos.
Smithville Freshman Class 1927,
other High School Photos, and Burkholder Family

Number 3 School

Outside Links

Trip Advisor for Smithville
Wayne County Map Link
Wayne County Public Library
Wayne County Historical Society
Ohio Historical Society
The Smithville Inn restaurant
The Barn restaurant
Places to stay in nearby Wooster
Smuckers in Orrville
GenWeb Site for Wayne County, OH  


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Text, Graphics, and Photographs
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