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Salem United Church of Christ
Tonawanda, New York



Our Host: Salem United Church of Christ, The Rev. Jeremy Lopez

114 Morgan Street, Tonawanda, New York, 14150     Map.

Wednesday December 10, 2014, 7:00 PM

In keeping with the society’s tradition of visiting local churches for the December Holiday Program, members and their guests are invited to join together at Salem United Church of Christ on Morgan Street in the City of Tonawanda for this year’s event in celebration of the upcoming Christmas Season. As is the custom, attendees will tour the church and receive a brief history of this long-standing local congregation. Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the program.

One of the community’s oldest congregations, Salem’s history dates back to the earliest days of what would become the Twin Cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda.

Established under the name German United Evangelical Salem Church of Tonawanda on June 20, 1856, a pastor was secured on June 29, 1856. By 1857, a small brick church with a steeple had been completed on a 66’ by 120’ lot on Morgan Street in the village. In 1862 the adjoining Morgan Street corner lot was purchased as the location for a school building and, in l863, land was purchased for a cemetery on Main Street adjacent to the Village of Tonawanda cemetery. A tower with clock and bells was added in 1870. A frame parsonage was built on a lot adjoining the church in l874, and in 1884 a two-story schoolhouse was built. 1889 saw the construction of a new church built around the existing bell tower at a cost of $6800.

The parochial school closed in 1911, and in 1920 it was voted to conduct Sunday morning services in both English and German. Rev. Walter F. Hetzel was called as Salem’s eighth pastor in April, 1932 and ministered for twenty-eight years, making him Salem’s longest tenured pastor. The present parsonage was completed and dedicated on February 12, 1933. Major remodeling of the church interior took place in 1937. The altar painting, new windows and removal of the east and west balconies were included in this project. In 1949, weekly German services were terminated and were to be held only on festive occasions or as directed by the Board of Elders.

The celebration of Salem’s 150th Anniversary began June 12, 2005 with the theme, “Saluting Our Past, With Faith in Our Future,” and many special events were scheduled throughout the year.

Salem Church is a member of the United Church of Christ, a mainline denomination in the Reformed tradition, and the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC. These two denominations, which were themselves the result of earlier unions, had their roots in Congregational, Evangelical, and Reformed denominations. Today, the United Church of Christ has 5,287 congregations with more than one million members, primarily in the United States.

With more than a century and a half of history intertwined with that of the Twin Cities community, it is no surprise that the Historical Society has extensive records related to Salem Church available for research, including death records and the records of surnames buried in the Salem Cemetery. It is also a fact that many Historical Society members are also members of the Salem congregation. Please join us as we celebrate the Holiday Season and enjoy learning more about one of the area’s most historical churches.


Official Home:  The Historical Society of the Tonawandas, Inc.
Museum and General Office:  113 Main Street, Tonawanda, NY, 14150-2129
(716) 694-7406     Email  tonahist@gmail.com
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