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While this photo may not be in the distant past, it was taken a few years ago. Keeping our images identified is a goal so we know who is who in our files. This snapshot has surfaced in our collection. We know teacher Mrs. Diane Ebner but are wanting to add a name for the young lady pictured with her. T-shirts in the photo mention the Power of the Pen. ...

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Sadness near our quiet village with the recent loss of this house of worship is what we will share this evening. A tragic disaster to the congregation and community, indeed, Wildwood Chapel, located at 5400 Hein Avenue SE (just outside of Malvern), was taken by flame yesterday.

For years, unfounded rumors of ill-taste circulated around the church house due to its secluded location. These unsubstantiated falsities continue to be associated with the grounds as witnessed by the many recirculated posts on social media since yesterday's disaster. Please remember, this was a house of worship...a church family called it home.

The grounds are enriched with history...close to 200 years of witness to changes in our area.

According to a history of St. Martin Lutheran Church as compiled by the late Paul Klotz:

"On August 29, 1827 Christian and Catherine Yockey (probably the original was Yoggi) deeded a parcel of land to Christian Best, in trust for the German Lutheran and German Reformed congregations for the erection of a church home and for a burial ground for the dead. This parcel of ground was located about 2 miles northwest of Malvern on the hill road to Mapleton...The first church erected on the parcel on the ground was a log church that served these congregations until 1837.

The German Lutheran and German Reformed continued to worship in the log church until the year 1837 when they built a brick church about 40 ft x 60 ft. The church was constructed of bricks made from surface clay obtained from the same locality." The Reformed congregation continued to utilize this brick building as a church when it was located at the Hein Avenue location until around 1890 when it was moved to Malvern.

Klotz continues, "During this period (1837-1850) both congregations continued to use the same church, each having their own time for services, their own pastor and organizations with each congregation to share equally with expenses." In 1850 it was decided the same pastor would serve the needs of both congregations.

Over time, dissatisfaction had arisen between the two congregations sharing space and pastors. In 1867, the Lutherans called Rev. Cronenwett to serve and he recorded the following circumstance:

"When I again on a Sunday morning arrived at St. Martin Church...we were locked out, the key would not fit. Now what was to be done? I inquired about the windows? One answered that there was but one in the rear that would shove up...But there was hesitation...then one took courage...and succeeded. Two of the other side [Reformed]...went to Canton the next day...to bring action against us. The first lawyer, after questioning, said that we were within our rights."

So, it appears from record that the German Reformed congregation had locked out the congregation of St. Martin Lutheran from the brick church building. The history continues to explain how Wildwood Chapel came to be built in 1870:

"Many of the Swiss Reformed members became disgruntled at their pastor, Rev. Ziegler and wanted to unite with the Lutheran congregation but Rev. Cronenwett would not accept them until they first made peace with Rev. Ziegler. This they would not do so they split from their congregation, secured a parcel of ground adjoining the brick church and built the frame church..."

In 1870, we now have the brick church building and the current Wildwood Chapel standing side-by-side out on Hein Avenue. "That part of the Reformed congregation who remained with the original congregation continued to make it as unpleasant for the Lutherans as possible, shaking their fists at Rev. Cronenwett and saying ugly things to him."

St. Martin Lutheran congregation decided it was time to move their church family to Malvern and did so in 1871 with the construction of a "new" church at the corner of Bridge and Grant Streets (present day American Legion Hall).

Wildwood Chapel was once also called Salem Reformed Church.

Our sincere condolences to the congregation on your loss.
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Faithful Malvern Historical Society follower Mr. Tom Romano brought this information to our attention and supplied the image. Tom shares with us:

"Bill Monroe graduated from MHS in 1967. As one of his classmates said, 'He was an exemplar of the Scholar-Athlete.' Bill earned nine varsity letters in football, baseball, and basketball. He co-captained the 1966 football team that won the Tuscarawas Valley Championship and was named to the TVC All-Star team. Liked and respected by both teachers and students, his senior year, Bill was elected class vice-president and president of the National Honor Society. He will be inducted into the Malvern Athletic Hall of Fame on December 20, 2019."

Memories, anyone?
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Holy moly, look at the detail in that railing! This young chap took a moment to pose for an early 1900s photo. His name has been lost to time. ...

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Ralph Anthony Romano and Margie (Casper) Romano taken bout 1951. Ralph was named for both of his grandfathers: Raffaele Romano and Antonio Campagnoli and he was a son of Joseph and Jeanette (Campagnoli) Romano. Margie was a daughter of Clem and Nellie Marie (Gotschall) Casper.

Memories, anyone?
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