Finding Community in the Basement of a Neighborhood School

It was the early 1950's. World War II had been over for a few years and the babies were booming, as they say. The neighborhood around Hale Road school, once a rural farming and nursery community, was infilling with new homes and new families. A new wing on the school was being planned and built to accommodate all the extra children. However, there was not a church in this growing neighborhood.

With the encouragement of Reverend Gaylord of the Perry Christian Church, some families of the Hale Road neighborhood began planning for a church to nurture the spiritual and social needs of their growing community. There was no suitable church building or meeting hall available in the neighborhood, so the families arranged with the Painesville Township school system to meet Sunday mornings in the basement of Hale Road School.

The congregation grew quickly, with various activities initiated to involve the kids of all ages. There were Cub Scout packs, Boy Scouts, as well as fund raising efforts including the usual bake sales, church dinners, car washes, and craft shows. With only a modest rent to pay at the school, the church was able to quickly raise funds necessary to buy land and plan a real church.

A lot was purchased at the corner of Route 20 at Base Drive, however the Painesville Township Zoning Commission would not approve a church at that location. The land was resold and another large piece of land purchased on Hale Road at the boundary of Perry Township. The old farm house was demolished and with additional funding from the Disciples of Christ, the Hale Road Community Christian Church was built in its place.

Many of the founding members have passed on; their families have grown and moved away. But the Church remains, ready and available to serve the Hale Road community long after the old school building is abandoned. It is a living testament to the many great things that came out of Hale Road School. We wish to commemorate and honor that with a walk that follows the same path trod by generations of children over these many years