Terrace Park, Ohio Building Survey

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No: 100  Street: Miami (Terrace Place until 1950) Name: St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Family: St. Thomas Episcopal Church Plaque: 2008 Owner Info: N
Built: 1907 Sec: 23 Sub: Pattison & Iuen (story 1) Lot: Pt 42
Architect: 1907 church - Jno. A. Boyse.           Later - Ben C. DeCamp ? Cont/Build: 
#Owners: 1 Original Use: Church Current Use: Church
MATERIAL Siding:  Brick: Y Stone: Y Stucco: Y Br&Sid:  OtherM: timber with stucco, ashlar
ROOF: gable Stories: 2-4
CHANGES As Built: N Add To: Y Sub From: N Replace: N
1946/8 - addition.  1952 - Extension of chancel.  1957 - Education wing and kitchen.  1976 - installed 2 dormers with windows in south west roof.  1982 - Columbarium.  1988 - expanded corner of kitchen to existing rear and side walls. ("Brief History of Building Campaigns at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church" in TPHS file).  Extensive addition and remodeling under Don Waring. 
Current Owner: St. Thomas Episcopal Church Date Fr: 1903 Date To: 
Original Owner: St. Thomas Episcopal Church Date Fr: 1903 Date To: 
Owner 1:  Date Fr 1:  Date To 1: 
Owner 2:  Date Fr 2:  Date To 2: 
Owner: The St. Thomas Protestant  Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Southern Ohio  1/16/05    
1975 Owner:  St. Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church of Diocese of Southern Ohio.  Terrace Pl Pt 42 PI
Description: English Gothic Style Church.  "Additions to the church are Elizabethan in origin, displaying the ubiquitous timber, stucco, and leaded stained glass."
Story 1: Pattison & Iuen's Sub-division of Lots 1&2, Camden City (the same for all 100s & 200s of Miami)
Story 2: "Episcopal mission established in 1870 by [Rev.] Charles H. Kellogg, and parish organized in 1876.  The vestryman was Thomas R. Biggs, an early settler to Camden City.  In 1907 the great circus showman John F. Robinson built (or at least was greatly responsible for building) this new church as a memorial to his wife (Caroline) and daughter (Kate).  From 1876-1906 services had been held in a schoolhouse in Montauk."  See more information in Ohio Historic Inventory in Terrace Park Historical Society file. See also booklet "St. Thomas Episcopal Church 1876-1976".
Story 3: Robinson stained glass window above the altar where the sun really hit it.  People either loved it or hated it.  It depicted Robinson's daughter being carried to heaven by angels.  In each corner was an elephant.  The interesting part was the hairdos and lots of long flowing blond hair.  One of the angels may have had a trumpet.  Robinson also had a spittoon with a trap door to it.  After the window was taken down it was stored in the tower (probably at the time of the remodeling).  There were a lot of community & school functions held at St. Thomas.  There were church sponsored youth groups.  Marie Vilardo's mother allowed her to go to that weekly youth group even though the Catholic church at the time did not allow Catholics to go inside another denomination church.  Class of 1955 Baccalaureate service was held there - probably first one not at the school.  (reminiscences by Dick Werner & Bob Schulz in June 2010)
Story 4: In 1978 when the Ohio History Inventory was made St. Thomas Church was said to be in excellent interior and exterior condition and eligible to be on the National Register.
Story 5: 1911-12 Directory - St. Thomas Church.
Story 6: Tillie and the Church.  Circus stories in the village history,  "A Place Called Terrace Park", evoked this whimsy from John R. Yungblut, Rector of St. Thomas Church from 1939 to 1951, ......  With tongue in cheek or a salt cellar handy, read on.    
     
This is a story about Tillie, the most distinguished of the troupe of elephants in the John Robinson’s Circus that used to have its winter quarters at Terrace Park, Ohio.  This unusual circumstance of a little village annually hosting a circus menagerie naturally gave rise to many stories.  One that does not usually appear in the canon of accepted tales is the following.  Some who know it maintain that it is slightly exaggerated, but others, while admitting that it is apocryphal, insist on its authenticity in every detail. 
     Now Tillie was taken on a daily exercise walk by her trainer with two other elephants, tail in trunk.  She chanced on more that one occasion to witness the choir of St. Thomas Church forming to march in procession into the church for worship.  After a time, Tillie conceived an inordinate desire to lead that impressive procession.  After all, she had led the circus parades for years. 
     Some say an additional motivation was that Tillie was a feminist and was driven to usurp a role traditionally reserved for males.  But I can’t vouch for that.  Anyway, she finally got up enough courage to confront the Rector with her petition.  Being a pastor with some repressed passion for the theatrical, his active imagination went into play, and it was not long before he gave his consent.  It was harder to convince the Vestry of the church for permission to depart from custom in this way, but they were ultimately persuaded on the ground that the spectacle would increase attendance and consequently enlarge the Sunday offerings needed to complete the ambitious building plans. 
     When the Altar Guild was requested to make the appropriate vestments, there was a temporary negative stir on the part of those who held that the amount of material required to vest Tillie would make new cassocks and surplices for the entire choir.  But the voices of dissent were overridden, as most were excited by the challenge.  Moreover, the dissenters were mollified when the decision was made that Tillie’s voice did not qualify her to sing in the choir, save perhaps to provide trumpet sounds as a prelude to the Easter Service.  Tillie, meantime, had completely disarmed the other acolytes, who were all on her side.  They did not even object to Tillie serving as the number one crucifer because it was obvious that with her trunk she could carry the cross higher that any of them. 
     Some architectural alteration had indeed to be made to accommodate Tillie’s girth in the limited area reserved for the choir stalls, but it was not difficult to persuade one of the “angels” in the congregation to volunteer the necessary funds. 
     After some preliminary dress rehearsals, all was ready for the installation of Tillie as first string acolyte, crucifer.  On this occasion no one was more calm and restrained than Tillie.  She lumbered down the aisle with the greatest dignity and at precisely the right pace, neither too fast nor too slow, and in perfect rhythm with the opening hymn.  When she came in front of the altar she genuflected in the most natural, graceful way.  After all she had been trained to curtsey in her circus performances for years. 
     She always considered the climax of her part in the service the extinguishing of the candles at the conclusion of the liturgy.  Most of the congregation as well found this the high point of the ritual.  She would genuflect and, on rising, extend her trunk in a great arc and go whooossshhh, never failing to blow out the candle the very first try.  In crossing to the other side of the altar to blow out the other candle, she would genuflect again in front of the cross, before extinguishing the second candle. 
     Though I am grieved to tell the end of the story, honesty compels me to do so.  After performing for many years in this manner, “going from strength to strength in the life of perfect service,” one might say, Tillie grew ecclesiastically ambitious. She made the crucial mistake of applying to the bishop for holy orders.  Whether or not the bishop felt threatened by her great popularity in the Diocese, so some conjectured, and despite the fact that St. Thomas’ congregation increase by leaps and bounds, the bishop excommunicated Tillie.  And so it was that this unique service came to an end. 
Article in March 1993 Village Views.
Story 7: 1933 in Milford Record.  "The St. Thomas Church has a new  resident pastor, Rev. Thomas Mathers, of Milton, Mass.  This is Rev. Mathers first parish, having recently graduated from Cambridge Theological.  
Story 8: List of Clergy at St. Thomas Church from the book "St. Thomas Episcopal Church 1876-1976":  1870-1873 *The Reverend Charles H. Kellogg; 1873 The Reverend Thomas R. Street; 1873-1879 The Reverend John Newton Rippey; 1879-1882 The Reverend Thomas J. Melish; 1882-1885 *The Reverend James Foster; 1885-1886* The Reverend Samuel Herbert Boyer; 1886-1890 No record; 1890-1892 *The Reverend Harry Von Glenn; 1892-1896 No record; 1896-1898 The Reverend George E. Edgar; 1898-1901 *The Reverend John Howard Melish, *The Reverend Robert Bonner Bowler Foote,* The Reverend Lawrence McKendree Idleman, *The Reverend Thomas Jenkins (30 years later became Bishop of Nevada),* The Reverend Richard Graham,* The Reverend Charles F. Chapman; 1901-1904 *The Reverend Charles W. Spicer; 1904-1907 *The Reverend John Haight; 1907-1910 *The Reverend John Benjamin Myers; 1910-1915 *The Reverend Francis H. Richey; 1915-1917 *The Reverend Guy Emery Shipler; 1917-1921 *The Reverend George Thomas Lawton, 1921-30 *The Reverend Maxwell Long, 1930-1932 The Reverend William B. Dern; 1932-1938 The Reverend Thomas Mathers (of Milton MA.  His first parish after graduating from Cambridge Theological Seminary); 1939-1951 The Reverend John R. Yungblut; 1952-1968 The Reverend Kenneth Clarke; 1968-  The Reverend Robert D. Gerhard.  The Parish was served by many lay readers during the first 50 years.  The men most frequently mentioned were Edwin B. Thayer and Abner L. Frazier.  Associate rectors from 1955 to 1776 were: Peyton Reed, Emmet C. Smith, Thomas R. Smith, William A Baker Jr., V. Alistair Votaw, Howard S. Meeks, Frederick P. LaCrone and Jon C. Shuler.  
Clergy after Bob Gerhard were Don Waring and Tom Wray.     For more information on St. Thomas Church up to 1976 refer to the above quoted book.  A complete list of rectors is available here.
Story 9: Robert McNeil, Bishop of Colorado, was married at St. Thomas Church.  His wife came from Indian Hill.  A priest at an Episcopal Church in Denver was earlier at St. Thomas Church.  (Information from Anne [Peterson] De Calzo, 2009.)
1939 Map: St. Thomas Church
1942 Map: St. Thomas Church
1951/3 Map: St. Thomas Church
1959-80 Directories: St Thomas Church
1982-2012 Directories: St. Thomas Church/St. Thomas Nursery School