Steeped in history downtown Bellville stands as monument to the both the past and the present; its streets are lined with buildings, some which have stood as long as Ohio has been a state.
Currently, Bellville is home to four structures that are members of the National Registry of Historic Sites. The only site independent from village ownership is the All Souls Universalist Unitarian Church.
According to documents at the Bellville Historic Society, the Universalist congregation was founded by circuit riders traveling from Fredericktown to Lexington, who settled on Bellville to as a home for their church in 1822.
The Universalists practiced in various locations until deciding to construct the current Richardsonian Romaneque church in 1894 stated All Souls Church Council President Glen Meyers.
The church was constructed from sandstone and lumber donated by All Souls’ members. It used stained glass windows custom-made in Germany and each were purchased by individual families who attended the church.
According to the historical society’s archive, in 1910 All Souls purchased their Tracker pipe-organ from the Felgemaker Company located in Erie, PA. The organ was shipped by boat to its home in the church where it still stands today. The organ is thought to be capable of lasting another half-millennium with proper care.
In 1960, the nationwide Universalist congregation merged with the nationwide Unitarian congregation and the building officially became known as the All Souls Universalist Unitarian Church.
All Souls officially became entered into the National Registry of Historic Places in 1976 thanks to the efforts of former Bellville Mayor Howard Smith and church member Etz Walter.
Today, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Bellville aims to make regular attendees and new guests alike feel welcome by adhering to the motto of “we take diversity and inclusiveness seriously.”
For those interested in All Souls they can be contacted at allsoulsuuohio.org or at the All Souls Facebook page. The
Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones or via email at email@example.com