The Historic Hamilton Church, located on Chicago Trail three miles northeast of present day New Carlisle, has had a recent update to its exterior with the replacement of the front porch.
The existing porch had deteriorated to a point where it was no longer safe. With help from a generous donation from the Clarence and Bev Stone family, a new concrete porch was built complete with a wheelchair accessible ramp.
Paul and John Egbert, along with Jonathan Hubbard, formed the original Hamilton Church building committee back in 1838 and construction soon began.
During the construction, the church burned down, but was completed in 1843. Oliver Emery, a ship builder, was the architect. The huge timbers for the structure were cut from the local virgin forests.
The principle used was that of a cantilever bridge with no visible supporting timbers. All of the supports are out of sight in the loft, while the weight is carried between the outside walls and the overhead work carries the weight of the roof. This provides the large auditorium with nothing to mar the spacious view.
The church served as a Methodist church for the community until 1969, when the Methodists deeded the church to the Hamilton Church and Cemetery Foundation due to lagging membership. The spindled front porch was added in the late 1800’s.
Hamilton Church and Cemetery Foundation was incorporated in 1946 to maintain and develop the church and cemetery. Worship services have continued to be held in the building since 1969, first through the use of layman preachers. New Prairie Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational group, began worshiping at Hamilton Church in 1998, with weekly services each Sunday at 10:30am.
The front porch is just the latest in a series of recent improvements to the church. The sanctuary ceiling was renovated in 2004, a new roof was added in 2011 and the belfry roof was replaced in 2018. In 2015 through 2018, the large maple trees in the cemetery had to be removed and replaced due to continued wind damage.
Hamilton Church has been a vital part of the community for over 175 years and continues to do so. While it has changed and evolved over the years, its place as a spiritual center in the community continues.