Dixon, Lee County IL

A movement in Protestant Church circles which began about 160 years ago by certain ministers of various denominations who desired to restore the simplicity of the early church and promote a union of all Protestant denominations resulted in the formation of the Christian Church of Dixon. However, it wasn't until 1894 that this movement, early established in central and southern Illinois, made a definite impact on the Dixon area community.

At that time two ministers of the church, Rev. J.B. Wright and Rev. T.A. Boyer, held a meeting in a tent on West First Street which resulted in the organization of the First Christian Church in Dixon with a beginning membership of about 170 persons. About a year after its organization, the church members erected a building on First Street for use by the growing congregation. By 1917 the membership had outgrown the facilities so the building at W. First was sold to the Loyal Order of Moose.

For several years thereafter, services were held in various public buildings, while plans were in progress for a suitable building to house the church. In 1921, the church structure of the First Universalist Society of Dixon, located at the corner of Hennepin Ave. and Second St., was purchased and after being thoroughly remodeled was dedicated by the First Christian Church. Dr. Joseph Ft. Newton was a minister of the Univeralist Church and became one of the best known pulpit preachers of the 1920's and 30's.

A $25,000 fire caused by a heating room explosion on Sunday morning March 16, 1947 practically destroyed the auditorium and basement of the building. About 200 children and adults were inside when the fire broke out and were hurriedly evacuated. After about a two year period the work of repairs and remodeling was completed and the building was rededicated, debt free, on June 19,1949. The present pastor is Dr. Tom W. Shepherd.

The Dixon Evening Telegraph Feb. 28, 1976

Back Home

Illinois - "Our Way"