Early facts and memories
I am getting my early information from the church’s One Hundred Years anniversary book. There are several books in the office to loan out but not enough to pass out for keeps. If interest in borrowing a book, call the church secretary, Kira Gibson, (623) 979-4682 and make arrangements to borrow a book. Office hours are Tuesday through Friday 9am-12pm. If you have not met Kira, call her even if you do not want a book and get acquainted. She is Super Nice and is a Super Secretary. We are fortunate to have her.
Hiram and Jennie Mann arrived in Phoenix from Kansas by train in 1889 and settled in an abandoned store building in Peoria. After cleaning out the building for the Mann’s home, the building became the first Peoria worchip center and the first Peoria school.
Peoria Presbyterian Church was organized in 1892. The present building was built in 1899 and dedicated February 4, 1900.
Look closely to the rear of the building which is probably an out house.
Drinking water was precious, as the closest well was in Agua (the “g” is silent) Fria six miles away. I am guessing it was near the Agua Fria River which is between Youngtown and El Mirage. Mr. Mann hired two men to hand dig a well thirty feet deep near Grand Avenue and Washington Street for the “town well”. Now the underground water level is several hundred feet deep. This was before irrigation wells were dug and lowered the water level.
Get a book and find out for yourself the rest of the early history.
The south part of the now sanctuary (annex) was built and dedicated in November 1921.
I was born in 1934. My parent bought a farm on now Thunderbird Road and 79th Avenue in 1931. The night of my birth, the town Doctor brought a midwife to the house and charged my parents $15. But 1934 was one of the lean years and money was scarce.
My first memories of P.P.C. are about 1940. The annex served as our fellowship hall and several Sunday School classes on Sunday. The membership was smaller and worship was in the north portion of the sanctuary. In the cut out portion of the now wall, was a curtain that hung from the top to the floor of the cut out wall. The curtain was always closed during worship or midweek pot luck suppers. Holding the curtain up was a pipe the length of the opening. ( I wrote this before, but this is for you new “kids”.) During worship one Sunday, a mouse had got stuck up on the pipe and could not figure how to get down. He kept running back and forth on the pipe, maybe hoping for an elevator to get down. I do NOT know what the sermon was, but I do know that the mouse was gray and fast. The minister might as well had the benediction early as all eyes were on the mouse.
Today look up on the roof of the building. The chimney is still standing. Fuel was either wood and maybe coal, as there was no gas or electricity in early years.
I did not get into my memories of worship in my yearly years, but watch for them in the CHATTER if interested. If not interest, just flip the page. In the next article hear about the first tiny kitchen and only one faucet above the sink. COLD WATER.
4 Ken Johnson