Local church to mark special anniversary

PARKERSBURG – On June 9, First Lutheran Church on 19th Street will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Sunday School Picnic held at City Park in 1913.

Records have not been found of the first four picnics, but a program exists for the Fifth Annual Picnic of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is now First Lutheran, on July 12, 1917. At that time, St. John’s was on Avery Street, built from the ruins of the first church, which was destroyed by the breaking of the city water towers.

A semblance of this old church still exists in the building, which is now Dr. Dale Brum’s Dentistry Office on Avery Street.

It was an all day affair with both lunch and dinner being served. A special committee was assigned to look after the safety of the children. A check room was provided for checking coats, hats, and packages.

There were familiar activities recognizable today, such as the yard dashes, wheelbarrow race, tug of war, and ball throwing contest. These will all be conducted at the celebration, along with some of the more interesting ones held.

Children will participate in a “Cripple” Lemon contest. Although no one today is certain of the nature of the contest, a lemon will be held between the knees as participants race toward a goal, a press release from First Lutheran Church states.

Older children participated in some events that the adults of First Lutheran will attempt. There will be a nail driving contest for men and women.

It was noted in the program that ladies must bring their own hammers. Ladies will also participate in a Needle Threading Contest. The Indoor Baseball Game will be omitted.

Some familiar Parkersburg names included in the program were Dudley, Hiehle, Boette, Kramer, Meerwein, Busch and Rapp. It was stated that the average attendance at Sunday School in 1916 was 110 and the average offering was $4.77.

The picnic will be held after church at approximately 12:30 p.m., followed by a covered-dish lunch and then the activities.