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Calling all churches to share their history

By JOE CENTERS • Apr 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM

With this being Holy Week — the biggest week of the year for all Christians — it got us thinking about how important churches have been to the Norwalk area the last 200 years.

As we prepare to ramp up our Norwalk bicentennial coverage, we thought it would be great to take a look at the history of Norwalk churches.

We already have a comprehensive history of Norwalk in four sections in the June 30 edition, right before the big celebration bash on July 4.

Here are the four sections:

• The Pioneer era, 1817-1861 — Settlement of Norwalk, cutting trees, clearing swamps, building primitive settlement.

• Civil War and development, 1861-1907 — The railroad comes to Norwalk and its first industries, banking, pianos.

• War and depression, 1908-1967 — Norwalkians fight WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as the Great Depression.

• The modern era, 1968 to 2017.

We also will have full coverage of events surrounding the city’s bicentennial coverage.

We also would like to feature area churches over the last 200 years. We are asking church leaders throughout Norwalk to send us any history information they have and we will include it in our special section. You can forward it to: news@norwalkreflector.com or jcenters@norwalkreflector.com or call me at 419-668-3771 ext. 1234.

One of the first big bicentennial events is coming up later this month.

The Firelands Historical Society will present an “Evening with Platt and Sally Benedict” at St. Paul Episcopal Church, 87 W. Main St., at 7 p.m. April 22.

This evening will feature not only a re-enactment by Platt and Sally, but will include a short history of the era and concert music on the A.B. Chase grand piano. It will be followed by a catered reception in Benedict Chapel and a concert selection, written especially for the occasion by a local student.

This celebration of our founders is timely as it not only commemorates their settlement of Norwalk, but also occurs in the site of their worship.

Only 200 tickets ($25 each) will be sold for this singular event. Further information can be obtained from the Firelands Historical Society at 419-668-6038 or from the chairman, John Schumm, at 419-668-2869. Tickets can be purchased at Berryʼs Restaurant or the Diamond Collection until Saturday. For ticket information, you can contact Kathleen Schaffer at the Huron County Treasurerʼs Office.

There also will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetery at 11 a.m. April 19  at the Benedict grave sites. The city tree board will plant a tree in memory of the Benedicts at Woodlawn Cemetery at 4 p.m. April 21 as part of Arbor Day.

You also can follow our bicentennial coverage in each of our Discover Norwalk Magazine issues this year. Local historian and Reflector columnist Henry Timman is featuring each block in our “Block by Block” historical series of downtown Norwalk. Part three of the six-part series will be featured in the May/June magazine.

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.

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