History comes alive in church tour

Staff report

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Historical Society will host a tour of downtown Sidney churches, Sunday, Oct. 29.

Tour groups will leave the Ross Historical Center, 201 N. Main Ave., at 2:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.

The tour will include stops at six churches: the First Presbyterian Church, the First Baptist Church, the First United Methodist Church, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, Saint John’s Lutheran Church and Holy Angels Catholic Church.

Presbyterians began meeting in private homes in Sidney as early as 1825. The first Presbyterian church building was located on the south side of the courtsquare, near where the US Bank is today. The current church building, their third, was constructed in 1882.

Other Protestant denominations followed. Those included the Methodists later in 1825, the Lutherans in 1840 and the Baptists in 1850.

The first Catholic baptism recorded in Sidney was in 1844. The priest assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in Piqua occasionally made the then arduous trip to Sidney. By 1848, the priest was celebrating Mass in private homes and by 1852, in a building at the corner of West and South streets.

Today, there are numerous denominations in Sidney and dozens of church structures. The church buildings on the tour have been constructed in the last quarter of the 19th century or the first quarter of the 20th century.

Tickets for the tour are available at the Ross Center, by phone at 498-1653 or by mail at P.O. Box 376, Sidney, OH 45365. Tickets are $10 each for historical society members and $15 each for nonmembers.

“Religion was the foundation of our community,” Shelby County Historical Society Director Tilda Phlipot said, “and it is intertwined with everything that has happened in our community since. When we offered the tour of churches last year, it was a tremendous success. There were a number of people who have been lifelong residents of Sidney who have never ventured inside some of these amazing buildings, and the tour provided the opportunity for them to do so.

“We had so many who were unable to participate in the tour last year because of timing that we decided to offer the opportunity again this year,” she said. “One of the changes this year is that we moved the time of the tour up so that people would not be walking in the dark. In addition, we added a time slot to accommodate those who want to participate.”

Staff report