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Quinn Chapel celebrates 100 years

A century ago, the then-newly built Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church opened its doors to the community for the first time.

Between then and now, some changes have been made to the neat white- steepled structure at 715 Adams St. A church office and a choir loft were added in those years, but one thing remained constant: the church’s mission to spread the message of Christ and serve the community.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, the congregation of Quinn Chapel will celebrate the building’s 100 years in the Ironton community with a special program at 4 p.m.

In the beginning

While the building itself is 100 years old, the actual congregation has roots that reach further back. Quinn Chapel was originally founded in 1856 by newly freed slaves who crossed the Ohio River at Burlington, via the Underground Railroad. The new Ohioans settled in Ironton and sought work at the Vesuvius Furnace.

Earlier church services were held at private residences. When the membership grew, a more permanent facility was obtained.

The property on Adams Street was purchased from Ironton’s founder, John Campbell, in 1865 and the original wood-framed edifice was built at a cost of $1,000.

This building served the congregation until continued growth led to the construction of the current structure in 1908.

“The members of Quinn Chapel have been truly blessed to have been entrusted with the responsibility of stewardship of this historic church building,” Quinn Chapel pastor, the Rev. Melonie Valentine, said. “Those who came before us prayed, worked, and sacrificed to see that subsequent generations would have a place to worship. Quinn Chapel has always been dedicated to serving the Lord and the citizens of the Ironton community, and as in its storied past, remains open to all citizens of this community. The public is invited to join us as we celebrate 100 years of blessings in this wonderful church building.”

Harold Gordon, one of Quinn Chapel’s trustee, agreed.

“I think this is a cause for celebration, to have been left this church by our ancestors,” Gordon said. “What we want to do is make sure it there is a church here for those who come after us.”

A celebration

The 4 p.m. Oct. 14 service will include former Ironton resident, the Rev. Darrell Rollins, pastor of Wesley Chapel C.M.E. Church in Carlisle, Ky., who will bring the afternoon message. Rollins is a former Ironton resident. Harold Gordonsaid though small in numbers, the congregation welcomes visitors.

“We don’t meet any strangers,” he said. “Anyone who wants to worship with us is welcome. We want them to feel at home.”