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In the mid-1890’s the Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church organized a mission church in Hazel Dell, the area that later became the northern portion of Ellwood City. Property was soon purchased on Line Avenue and a small church (shown above) was erected in about 1901. The mission quickly grew in part due to the tireless efforts of the Reverend Charles Bell, who oversaw both the Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church and the Hazel Dell mission. Eventually, in June 1914, the mission was formally granted status as a separate church. In honor of the Reverend Bell it was christened as the Bell Memorial Presbyterian Church. Bell, who soon resigned from Slippery Rock Church, was installed as the first fulltime pastor of the new church in May 1915. Bell stepped down as pastor in October 1916 but remained involved with the local community for many years. (c1905) Full Size
Various improvements and upgrades were made to the building over the years, including a basement being added in 1910. In the 1920’s it was decided to build a new church and the adjoining Hazel Dell School property was soon purchased. The old school was razed in September 1926 and work on a new church commenced in early 1928. Progress was soon slowed due to the Great Depression and eventually the partially completed building was abandoned and sold. A major renovation of the old church (shown above) was undertaken in the late 1940’s, which featured a reworking of the sanctuary and a new Sunday School wing being erected. (c1949) Full Size
The congregation of the church will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2014. (May 2012) Full Size
(May 2012) Full Size
(Oct 2014) Full Size
In 1926 the congregation acquired and razed the nearby Hazel Dell School. Work on a new brick church commenced at the location in early 1928. Progress was soon slowed due to the Great Depression and eventually the partially completed building (shown above) was sold. The building was home to various businesses over the years and was reacquired by the church in 1967 – for use as a recreation center. It became the Ellwood City Community Center in 1974, the YMCA in 1982, and the Ellwood Area Family Center in 1991. (Oct 2014) Full Size