It is certainly small, only 31-feet wide by 36-feet long, but it has stood solidly on Solomons Island Road for 100 years. Many people have passed it, wondering about the little brick building with a tiny bell tower that looks like a one-room schoolhouse.
It is the home of Edgewater United Methodist Church and it will celebrate its centennial Sept. 28.
The church actually began in 1896, when worship services, prayer meetings, Sunday school and Christian fellowship were held in an oyster house in Edgewater where county school classes also were held in Edgewater. The oyster house and a nearby home belonged to retired waterman Capt. George G. Davis. Regular Both buildings were near the old wooden South River Bridge, on property now occupied by Liberty Marina. Davis rented the house to Benjamin Brown and his family, who ran a general store there.
Davis also became the postmaster, operating the first Edgewater Post Office out of the store. He named the area "Edgewater" because it was at the edge of the river.
The Brown's daughter, Mary, was assistant postmaster. She married William Walton Purdy in the church on January 31, 1900, and her notes, written over the years and donated to the church by her family, provide much of its early history. Her descendants are still members of the church.
A few years later, the church was granted the use of some land that included schoolhouse at the corner of Wallace Manor Road and Solomons Island Road for church functions. A circuit minister occasionally was available for services there.
In 1912, the church acquired a parcel of land where it now stands at 2764 Solomons Island Road. The members of the church decided it was time to build a proper church.
In 1914, the building was completed and has undergone relatively little change its century-long life. Originally covered with clapboard siding and shingles, the church's walls were clad with brick in 1960. A metal roof was installed. The original plain windows were replaced with modest memorial stained glass in 1968. The bell tower, which recently was repaired and strengthened, has one bell that is still rung by hand using a rope which hangs down through the ceiling of the sanctuary by the door.
Its mellow tones can be heard on Sunday mornings throughout the surrounding community.
Inside, the church is furnished simply, with a double row of white-painted, handmade pews with wood trim. These pews originally were made for the former Taylorsville United Methodist Church. When that church was closed many years ago, the pews were given to the Edgewater church.
The altar has a simple brass cross, and a lit wooden cross on wood paneling behind the altar was hung in 1980. The church seems larger inside than it is outside and imparts a feeling that is at once airy and serene.
During its anniversary celebration on Sept. 28, the day will begin with a special worship service at 9:30 am, followed by a breakfast in the fellowship hall beneath the church.
Instead of a regular sermon, several members and supporters will speak briefly about the church. Volunteers also have prepared an exhibit of memorabilia on the church's history in hall. One church member will display his 1924 Hupmobile, one of only a few left in the country. Other special displays and attractions are in the works for the celebration.
Visitors are welcome to attend. There is limited parking at the church itself, but the chiropractors next to the church generously permit churchgoers to use their parking lot for Sunday services.
For details, call 410- 266-8198.
Snakes in the Museum
The Captain Avery Museum will present a Friday Night Coffee Sept. 19 featuring Joe Banashek, a native of Churchton and a member of the Mojave Desert Rattlesnake Research Group in California.
The research group catalogs and collects rattlesnake specimens for Loma Linda University and other scientific institutions. Banashek's collection of rattlesnakes has been used in the creation of snakebite anti-venom. In addition to helping educate the public about snakes, he works with universities, hospitals, and government agencies researching them.
His program, "Venomous and Non-Venomous Snakes: Safety and Awareness Training," will provide frozen samples, discuss the treatment for venomous snakebites, and teach proper identification of and where to locate the snakes found in Maryland.
The program opens at 7 p.m. with coffee and homemade desserts, followed by the program at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the museum at 410-867-4486 or visiting http://www.captainaverymuseum.org.
Gordon Bok in Galesville
Gordon Bok, the legendary maritime folklorist and singer and songwriter from Maine, will perform his repertoire of seafaring ballads at the Galesville Memorial Hall, 952 Galesville Road, from 8 to 10 p.m. Sept. 30.
"We're proud to present Gordon to Annapolis and southern Anne Arundel County," said riverkeeper Jeff Holland. "We have a strong tie to our maritime traditions on these rivers, and Gordon is one songwriter who really knows his boats."
Bok's repertoire consists of a rich trove of ballads of Maine and the Maritimes, songs and dances of the Americas and abroad, stories of boats and sailors, contemporary songs and instrumentals.
Admission is $20 at the door. Wine, beer and soft drinks will be sold. Proceeds benefit the efforts of the West/Rhode Riverkeeper to protect the waterways.
For details, call 410-867-7171.
Senior center events
The South County Senior Center at 27 Stepneys Lane in Edgewater has announced the following events:
•AARP Smart Driver Course — 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday. This is the new and improved course. For AARP members with valid membership card, the new fee is $15, for non AARP members the new fee is $20, payable to your instructor. Sign up in advance at the front desk.
•Semi-annual flea market— 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 19. This is the big one, the center's fall sale. Shop for a huge variety of items with all proceeds going to the center. The center is accepting unwanted items in good condition, excluding clothes and electronics. Volunteers for the flea market also would be appreciated.
For details, call 410-222-1927 or visit http://www.aacounty.org/Aging/activeSeniors/soco.cfm.
Send your south county community news and events to email@example.com.