The Early Church
The history of Maxwell Methodist dates to the foundation of the town. Methodist services were held in Iowa Center where a class had been formed and at Cory Grove, Cambridge, and other nearby communities. In 1881 when the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad laid their track through this locality, the town naturally came to the railroad. During the winter of 1881 to 1882 Rev. Hall held a meeting in a schoolhouse on the west side of Main Street where a class was organized. In the spring of 1882, work was begun on a church with J.O. French, J.W. Maxwell and W.J. Veneman on the building committee. In September of the same year the new church was completed and dedicated to the service of God. This church served well the needs of Maxwell Methodism until 1912 when construction began on the present building (see picture on Home Page).
1911 – 1913: Old church razed and work started on the new church. From the time the old church was torn down until the new one was nearly finished, Sunday School, Epworth League and church services were held in the Opera House. The Opera House was located approximately where Casey’s now stands on Main Street between First and Second Streets.
The new edifice was made possible by the prompt liberality of the members. Work began in May of 1912 and erected upon the site of the old church which had been torn down. On September 17 of the same year the cornerstone was laid and dedicated. Bishop Hughes and Supt. R. E. Shaw officiated at the service. School was dismissed during that afternoon so the pupils could attend the services of the laying of the cornerstone.
1912: The items included and dedicated in the metal cornerstone box were:
(1) A copy of the Discipline;
(2) A picture of the church;
(3) A copy of the North Central Advocate;
(4) A current issue of the Maxwell Tribune;
(5) A list of the building committee members;
(6) A list of the official Board members; and
(7) Pictures of the Bishop and Pastor.
The church was designed by Price Brothers of New Jersey and built by Olson Contractors of Slater and Cole Brothers of Ames. It was built of McHoses’ best brick and hollow tile, manufactured at the local plant.
The entire building was wired for electricity and in the auditorium and Epworth League room, combination fixtures were provided for gas or electricity. Seating capacity: about 500.
Members of the Building Committee were: L.R. Shepherd, M.E. Goodrich, A.J. Fawcett, W.J. Veneman, S.E. Cooper, Els Gibson and A.C. Ackert.
The trustees were: S.E. Cooper, J.W. Huffman, A.C. Ackert, L.R. Shepherd, Eli McQuistion, Els Gibson, F.G. Woodman, J.E. Hull and Miles Pearson.
The stewards were: A.F. Pearson, Charles French, John Allen, W.J. Veneman, Mrs. Nellie Woodhouse, A.J. Fawcett, Thomas Dustin and M.H. Troup.
The Ladies Aid pledged and raised $1,000.
1913 – 1915: New church completed at a cost of $12,000. Pledges totaled $5,000. The large stained glass mosaic, “The Good Shepherd,” formed a large section of the south wall of the sanctuary. It is dedicated to a Maxwell pioneer, Joseph Warren Maxwell and his wife Marietta Pifer Maxwell.
The west windows in the sanctuary were dedicated in memory of: John R. Hall, Sarah Hall, Mr. & Mrs. J.C. French, Miles Pearson and wife Minerva Pearson, and Sarah and Wm. Scoles.
The three windows in the north room bear the emblem and motive of the Epworth League and were presented by the young folks who were members of the League. The cost was $350. This seemed like a large sum of money to be raised by so few members, only about 20, but with a lot of hard work and perseverance they made the goal.
The large window on the northwest side of the church is of Jesus standing at the door (Rev. 3:30) and dedicated in memory of Margaret S. Veneman.
Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane is the window in the choir loft.
February 23, 1913: The beautiful new church was dedicated on February 23. The dedicatory services began at 10:00 a.m. with music by the Sunday School orchestra and the choir furnished an anthem, the sermon was by Bishop Frank Bristol. There were services in the afternoon and in the evening. Mrs. Nellie Cooper sang a solo during the evening service and the orchestra furnished music at that service, too. Both the Presbyterian and Christian ministers had parts in the different services during the day. At 6:30 p.m. the Epworth League service was conducted by Rev. H.G. Hicks and Rev. Jackson Giddens, both former pastors. Special services were held every night the following week.
1915 – 1917: Electricity came to Maxwell and the church was lighted by electricity.
1915 – 1917: At first there was no city water in the church, but a good substitute was used, a large cistern. The pump was in the southeast corner of the furnace room. Sometime between 1915 and 1917 city water was put in.
1943 – 1949: Oil burning furnace replaced old coal furnace. Cost $3,150.
The Maxwell Church has a long tradition of outstanding choirs and choir directors and has presented a Community Musical Christmas Eve Service for many years.
Church membership stands at 160 as of May 2017.