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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Once a Church; then an Opera House


Bridgeport M.E. Church Women

The Bridgeport Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in October 1861, under the leadership of J. C. Pierce. The charter members beside Pierce were, Mr. and Mrs. Newstetter, Dr. and Mrs. Martin, and Mrs. Nora Duncan. The first church building was a modest, one room frame structure built mostly by volunteer labor. This structure served the small but growing congregation well for many years having been remodeled, improved and repaired to meet the growing needs.


The church now standing at Third and Main Streets in Bridgeport was then built and the old building which had once known only prayers and hymns, then took on a new life.


September 11, 1902 Lawrenceville Republican: “The trustees of the M.E. Church will offer for sale the old M.E. Church to the highest bidder on September 20, 1902 at 3 pm.”


September 25, 1902 Lawrence County News: "The old M. E. Church was sold Saturday for $ 125 to a company of ten young business men who propose to move it east two blocks on a lot purchased from A. Corrie, build an addition to it, put in a stage and balcony and have it as a first- class opera hall. This is something that has long been needed in Bridgeport and the company should receive the support of the entire community."


October 23, 1902 Lawrence County News "The old M. E. church was moved last week two squares east and 1/2 square south on a lot purchased from A. Corrie."


January 22, 1903 Lawrence County News: "At the Ideal Enterprises Opera House on Saturday night a benefit for the Presbyterian Sunday School was held. Tickets were sold at "the restaurant".


January 29, 1903 Lawrence County News: "All seats were sold for the program, with over $ 80.00 in receipts."


Only two of the ladies, Estella Kimble and Mrs Ethel Sawmiller have been positively identified, others who may be in the photo are, Mrs Earl Flack, Mrs Cummins, Mrs Gott, Mrs Carnes, Mrs Youkers, Mrs Powell, Mrs Miller, Mrs Wright, Mrs House, Mrs Lucas, Mrs Wm Starkman, Mrs Mayfield, Mrs Benner, Mrs Hale, Mrs Brunner, Mrs Dillinger, Mrs Halloway, Mrs Gillespie, Mrs DuCaire, Miss Laura Kincaid, Mrs Teaters, Mrs Campbell, Mrs Shoup, and Mrs Kimmel. If you can match a name to a face, please let us know. lawrencelore@gmail.com

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