Tours

Marietta Churches Walking Tour


View Marietta Churches Walking Tour in a larger map

Exhibiting some of the Pioneer City’s finest and most diverse architectural features, Marietta’s towering religious landmarks inspire with their beauty and purpose.

The self-guided tour is about one and a third mile of walking along city streets and sidewalks.  Some hills are involved.

Begin at the East Muskingum Park on Front Street (39.414746 N, 81.456137 W) near one of Marietta’s oldest churches – the First Congregational Church – which faces the park. Free parking is available along Front Street.

The Ohio Company planned the city of Marietta around a ministerial section – reserved for the support of religion. All of the churches on the tour fit within the district. Its boundaries extended roughly from the Ohio River to Seventh and Wooster. It has been said that the designation caused no shortage of problems for the founders and early builders.

1 • First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church was organized in Marietta in December of 1796. The first church was built in 1807, but it was lost to a fire in 1905. The present church at 318 Front Street was dedicated in 1906. Both of the church buildings had two distinctive "bell cones" or towers patterned after a Boston church which was attended by Rufus Putnam.

 

Travel southeast to Putnam Street and turn right. Follow Putnam northeast for four blocks to Third Street.

2 • First Unitarian Universalist Church

The First Unitarian Universalist Church at 232 Third Street was built in 1856 by Nahum Ward - a prominent land speculator and former mayor. Ward paid $25,000 for the building – one of Marietta's most stunning Gothic structures.

The brick for the church was handmade from clay taken from the ancient earthworks at Sacra Via. The church was designed by John Slocomb, who was also the architect of St. Luke's Episcopal Church and The Castle.

 Continue traveling northeast on Putnam to Forth Street.

3 • First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church at 301 Fourth Street was built in the early 1900s – the third home of the congregation, which was organized in 1818. From 1836 to 1855, the congregation worshipped at a building on Church Street, which was lost to fire. In 1855, a new church was constructed near city hall. The current structure, featuring a round Victorian turret, was dedicated in 1907.

A plaque on the Putnam Street exterior of the church tells of its history. Inside the fellowship hall, a mural by Al Dye of Williamstown commemorates the two previous meeting houses of the First Baptist Church and their place in Marietta history.

Continue traveling northeast on Putnam Street to Fifth Street. Turn left and proceed northwest along Fifth Street to Scammel.

4 • St. Paul's Evangelical Church

St. Paul's Evangelical Church at 401 Fifth Street traces its heritage to the German Religious Society of 1838, a protestant group who served the growing immigrant population. In 1839, the congregation was organized as the German Evangelical Church.

The building across from Mound Cemetery was built in 1849. In 1872, the church's name was changed from "German" to "St. Paul's".

Turn left onto Scammel Street and travel one block southwest to Fourth Street.

5 • St. Luke's Lutheran Church

St. Luke's Lutheran Church at 401 Scammel Street is a distinctive structure in Neo-Romanesque style.

In the 1830s, Lutherans in Marietta held worship meetings in their homes. In 1839, they joined St. Paul's Evangelical Church, but some withdrew from the congregation and organized their own church in 1858. So, they purchased a vacated church building one block away - the previous home of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The new members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church worshipped in their used building until replacing it with the present structure in 1901.

 

Turn right on Fourth Street and travel northwest to Wooster.

6 • St. Mary's Catholic Church

At the intersection of Wooster and Fourth Street stands St. Mary's Catholic Church at 506 Fourth Street.

Catholic worship in Marietta can be dated back to 1749 when a French expedition celebrated Mass at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers. During the 1830s, a few Catholics met in a private home. By 1838, their number had grown - a priest was appointed to serve Washington County and church property was obtained.

After suffering a series of devastating floods, in 1900 the thousand member strong church made a move to higher ground with the purchase of the current site at Fourth and Wooster. A house that previously served as a college for young women was obtained and relocated next door to serve as the parish rectory. The Spanish Renaissance style church was dedicated in 1909.

Cross Fourth Street traveling west.

7 • Seventh Day Adventist Church

The structure that houses the Seventh Day Adventist Church at 505 Fourth Street has served several different congregations through the years. In 1865 the building was constructed as the First Presbyterian Church.

At one time, it was familiar to many as the Central Christian Church. A fire resulted in remodeling that included the steeple and rose window.

Travel next door, heading southeast, to the First Presbyterian Church.

8 • First Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church at 501 Fourth Street was built in 1897 after the congregation outgrew the building next door. The Presbyterian Society first organized in Marietta in 1804 with 35 members. A second attempt was made in 1841.

Finally in 1865, the congregation was organized with 50 charter members. The third try was so successful that within 30 years the church experienced such growth that it required a larger facility.

Stained glass windows pay tribute to some of the congregation's most influential members.

Take Wooster Street one block southwest to Third Street.

9 • First Methodist Episcopal Church

The intersection of Third and Wooster Streets features two churches that both originally served Methodist Episcopalian congregations. The First Methodist Episcopal Church was built at 301 Wooster Street.

Now the home of Christ United Methodist Church, the building was dedicated in 1855.

Across the street at 300 Wooster Street another historic church is undergoing extensive restoration work. The German Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1878. Today it hosts the Crown of Life Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Travel southwest along Wooster Street to Second Street. Turn left on Second Street and travel southeast toward Putnam Street.

10 • St. Luke's Episcopal Church

St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 320 Second Street was constructed in 1856. A Gothic Revival style building, it was designed by John Slocomb who was also the architect of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Due to a lack of clergy following the Revolutionary War, the parish was founded by a missionary named Arius Nye in 1826. Services were held in members' homes before the construction of the church's first building at Fourth and Scammel in 1833.

Continue along Second Street to Putnam Street. Turn right on Putnam and travel southwest to Front Street and our starting point.

Points of Interest

While the walking tour features a number of churches within Marietta's ministerial district, there are others which are notable for their uniqueness and longevity.

The oldest surviving church building in Marietta is located on the town's west side. The Harmar Congregational Church (featured in the Harmar Historic Homes Walking Tour) was constructed in 1847 at 301 Franklin Street on land donated by David Putnam.

Another historic church worth a peek is distinctive for its size and purpose. On Second Street near Sacra Via is a vacant Wesleyan Methodist Church. The church was organized in the 1890s as a place of worship for "colored" folks.

The humble building was constructed around 1898.


Unless otherwise noted all sites are private property and should be respected as such.

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