David Melson

Picturing the Past 45: North Side Square

Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2010, at 9:23 AM
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  • I remember a friend that was to marry in 1990, I believe, but had to move the location of her wedding due to a fire at the church. Am I correct that it was this church?

    -- Posted by ontheoutside on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 11:18 AM
  • You're correct. A man suffering from mental problems set the fire.

    -- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 11:39 AM
  • I was wondering what year the fire was there. I had mistakenly recollected that it occured in '87.

    Glad you provided a date 'on the outside'.

    On another note, glad to see that the comments are still enabled on the blogs.

    -- Posted by gottago on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 11:45 AM
  • This was a beautiful old building. Too bad that progress sometimes gets in the way.

    -- Posted by reilly on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 12:26 PM
  • What a beautiful old photo! This was my home church from the time I was born until I moved away in 1954. A couple of unusual features about the old First Methodist....the entry doors (and vestibules) were not at the rear of the sanctuary, but at the front so you entered facing all the people..And the church did not have standard church pews, but rows of opera seats with arms. I wonder if the new church today has these same features....The light standards on the front sidewalk did not belong to the church. The same light standards were on the sidewalk all around the Square in those days. About the only thing I recall about the adjacent building (Cooper Building) was a retail store, Burkhalter's, on the ground floor.

    -- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 12:35 PM
  • I have always thought that most old-style church designs encourage people to sit in the back. Obviously, there are some people who prefer to sit in the back, and there's nothing wrong with that, but if you were designing a church from scratch I think I'd put the most-used entrance (such as, the entrance from the Sunday School classrooms) so that it's located towards the front of the sanctuary, so that people looking for the first available seat would tend to look up front.

    -- Posted by Jicarney on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 12:41 PM
  • The fire occurred before 1990. My wife's father, Raymond Tucker, died on Fathers Day, 1987 and we had to have his funeral in the large room under the sanctuary because the fire-damaged sanctuary was unusable.

    -- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 2:16 PM
  • You are correct marnold118. It was 1987. I found a note about the fire in my sons baby book. He was born in June, 1987. Sorry for the misinformation.

    -- Posted by ontheoutside on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 3:36 PM
  • Thanks David for yet another great picture. Several of the other bloggers have covered things that I remember such as: Burkhalters, Cooper building, seating reversed from most churches.

    The thing that I remember most is that when I was in high school I would go with a group of my friends to the Sunday Night youth meeting in the annex building. George Price's wife was our leader. I can not remember her given name right now. After our meeting we would all go to the Princess for the movie.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 4:08 PM
  • leeii, I think that would be Mildred Price.

    -- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 4:31 PM
  • Thanks marnold1118, I do not know if I would have ever remembered that, but I was thinking that it began with a "M".

    -- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 5:12 PM
  • The emotions I feel right now are almost overwhelming.The exact date of the fire was March 7th 1987. The young man that comitted that horrible act of arson was not as much mentally disturbed as he was an alcohol/drug addict at the time. The pastor of the church and it's members showed nothing but love and compassion for that young man, demonstrating through their actions the power of God in their own lives and the importance of love and tolerance of others. The perpetrator of this crime served 25 months of a very lenient 8 year prison sentence. Well that young man got sober, and to this day he refuses to blame alcohol/drugs for his crime or anything else he's done as he learned over the years that he must take responsibility for his own actions. He changed his life with the help of God and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, became a substance abuse counselor and has dedicated his life to helping others with the same problems he has had. David, I could write a lot more about this subject, and may want to do that one day, but right now I can't for you see, that young man was me.

    -- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 5:17 PM
  • Tattoos & Scars thanks for that testimony. I pray that someone will read it that is really needing help right now. God truly is able whenever we are willing.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 5:47 PM
  • Tattoos & Scars...I am really fascinated by your story...what you were...and what you have become. I sincerely hope that you might re-tell the story someday in a book...perhaps named "Tattoos & Scars". I'll buy the first copy.

    -- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 6:23 PM
  • Tattoos & Scars

    Thank you so much for your post. The friend that I spoke of earlier was devastated by the fire. She had grown up attending that church with her family and had dreamed of walking down that isle. The invitations had already be sent when the fire occurred so additional address change notices had to be mailed to the guests. The location was moved and the wedding went on as planned. I am happy to report that all these years later the marriage is still intact. Just as important as this marriage is the transformation you have made in your life. Although I do not know you, I was overcome by emotion as I read your post. Thank you for your honesty. I feel it would be an honor to know you. Maybe we will have the opportunity to meet someday.

    -- Posted by ontheoutside on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 8:41 AM
  • Tattoos and Scars

    I now know who you are. "An old friend of mine." Keep up your good work in the name of Doc and others that blazed the trail before you.

    -- Posted by KennyinMemphis on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 9:19 AM
  • Tattoos and Scars, your story touched me. I admire your honesty and the way you have turned your life around and working to help many others do the same. I am curious if this is the first time you have told your story in a public forum. You could be a great influence to teenagers and even adults. God Bless You...

    -- Posted by chs61 on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 2:30 PM
  • To KennyinMemphis; Hello my friend, it's been awhile since we last spoke. Hope all is well with you in your neck of the woods. I was with Doc for a bit in his final days. He never lost his zeal for helping others.

    chs61 - Yes, I have told my story in a public forum many times. I'm always hopeful that a word or two I might share would help some young person not to travel the same path as I and for those that have, I try to offer hope that they don't have continue on the road to self destruction. I'll go anywhere, anytime to carry the message of hope and recovery to those that want or need to hear it. My name is Tim Lokey and I can be reached through the Tony Rice Center.

    God bless all of you who have posted your kind and inspirational words. I'm only alive, clean and sober today through the grace of a loving God and people just like you.

    -- Posted by Tim Lokey on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 3:42 PM
  • This is a great pic!! This is also my home church and my parents still attend there today. My Dad has told me about the old building but all I have ever seen of it is a amazing needlework piece (along with a matching piece of the new building) which hangs in the lobby. The older ladies of the church, as well as my dad, told me (confirming an earlier post) that the congregation was seated facing the square and the pulpit was at the front. Guess it was hard to be late to church without any embarrassment!

    To Tatoos&Scars:

    I was a child then and remember that night vividly. As I recall, alot of the members gathered in front of the building that night. Some of us Middle Schoolers gathered round our Sunday School teacher. We were angry, really angry. You were not the only one to learn about forgiveness that night. The forgiver can learn just as much as the forgiven. She was and is just as must an inspiration to me today as she was then. Glad to see that you are making a difference for others.

    -- Posted by GoldenEagle22 on Sat, Jan 30, 2010, at 11:31 AM
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