The History of the Woolworth Memorial United Methodist Church
Great Bend, New York
By Helen Fargo
Woolworth Memorial United Methodist Church, Great Bend,
New York was a gift to the village from Frank W. Woolworth
of five and ten cent store fame. It was dedicated
on September 15, 1915 and Mr. Woolworth, his wife and daughters
were present along with many of his friends from New York
beautiful brick church with its steeple reaching towards
the sky was the third building to house the First Methodist
Society of the Town of Champion formed in 1825. The
first church was built in 1826; a plain unpainted wooden
building without a steeple or belfry. It was closed
in 1887 due to dwindling attendance and a need of repairs.
A new church was then built in the village of Great Bend
and was dedicated in the fall of 1887. It was painted
with a steeple, stained glass windows , carpeting and central
heat. Attendance grew so rapidly over the years that
the need for more room was apparent along with the need
of some repairs. About this time Frank W. Woolworth
spoke to the people of the church about building a new one
for them to honor the memory of his parents. His offer
was accepted and construction was begun in 1914. The
dedication on September 15, 1915 was attended by over 500
There is a Heritage Room in the present church which
contains many artifacts and historical documents.
There are several objects from the first "Old Church" resting
there. This beautiful church, a gift from a former
farm boy living and going to school in Great Bend has a
long and rich history.
A 10 page (complete with pictures) Historical Journal
is available through the 4 River Valleys Historical Society
for $3.00 and $1.00 Postage and Handling.