Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church


818 S. West Street

The construction of this church was funded by Benjamin and Cynthia Baum, parents of L. Frank Baum who wrote "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."  The building was designed by Syracuse architect Horatio Nelson White.

The church was named to commemorate the Centenary of American Methodism in 1885. The corner stone was laid in April, 1867, and the building completed in 1868 at a total cost was about $37,000.

Jesse Truesdell Peck, Tenth President of Dickinson College
Rev. Jesse T. Peck

The church's second minister, the Rev. Jesse T. Peck, was one of the original five founders of Syracuse University. The founders each gave $25,000 to establish the university's  endowment.

In 1961, the Olivet National Baptist Church paid $60,000 for the building and the church was known thereafter as the Second Olivet Baptist Church. In 1992-93, the congregation of the church nominated the site for local historic designation, but little subsequent effort was made towards restoration of the building.

In 2000, church leaders declared the building too small and restoration too costly. They said they preferred to demolish the building and erect a new church on the site that would better serve their needs. The Landmark Preservation Board denied the church’s application for demolition but this was overturned by the Planning Commission. The congregation was granted a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition.

Windows were removed and the church was readied for demolition. In January of 2004 the sanctuary ceiling collapsed and the congregation moved temporarily to St. Lucy's Church on Gifford Street. In November, 2004 two walls of the aging building collapsed. The rest of the building was demolished a few days later.

Pictures of the structure are below. The first image shows the building prior to the 2004 collapse:


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