Robinson Chapel UMC
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
The little white church with great big love

Our Story

History of Robinson Chapel

Information about the history of Robinson Chapel UMC was obtained from available church records, Mrs. John Hardisty, life-long resident of the community, and history of Allen County as written in 1880.

The history of Robinson Chapel dates back beyond the organization of the church as such.  Under the leadership of Rev. Dowd, a group of peple organized a class in the year 1845 and met in the Silver School House which stood in what is now known as the Viburg community.  In 1851 they erected a log church on the farm of Wesley Hollopeter and called it Bigelow.  This church stood in the corner of the woods just east of the Trimble Farm.  One interesting thing about this church was its puncheon seats made of hewn logs that we laid upon other logs.

At the same time during this period from 1845 to 1851 some of the members began to feel that this church was too far from their homes and withdrew to organize churches nearer to them.  Such was the beginning of Robinson Chapel.  In 1850, the people of the community organized a “class” and held their meetings in the log schoolhouse which stood one mile east of the present site of the church.  In 1851 Andrew Byers donated a tract of land to the Methodist Episcopal denomination to be used as a cemetery and also as a site for a church of that denomination.  In 1852, the people erected a frame church on the land donated by Mr. Byers and it was dedicated by a Professor Robinson for whom it was named.

About 1878 a new church was built upon the same site and is the church in which we worship today.

The kerosene for the kerosene lamps, and the brooms were furnished by Mr. Byers who built the fires and took care of the church.  It is also told that Mr. Byers boarded the men who built the new church.  The stones were gathered from the fields of the community and used in the foundation.

When the church was first built, the belfry had no bell.  The bell of the church was purchased with money raised by the Robinson Chapel baseball team some twenty years after the church was built.  It was hauled to the church on a wagon.  It is said that the names of the players are on the bell.

Throughout its history, Robinson Chapel has been known for its loyal people and its emphasis on Christian living.  Some may remember Andrew and Katie Ann Hollopeter.  Often when the church was being served by a minister only every two weeks, Andrew Hollopeter conducted services.  Everyone went to “Uncle Andrew” for help.

In 1958, major renovations were done on the building.  Two parlors, eight classrooms, a dining room, and kitchen were added and new walnut pews were installed.  Additionally, the church, which originally faced east, was moved from the corner of the lot at the corner of Tonkel and Union Chapel further from road and turned to face south, to make room for Tonkel road’s expansion.  The cemetery which had been located near the church was moved to the back of the lot.  The original belfry was replaced with a new steeple in the renovation. 

Additional renovations in recent memory have included the building of the pavilion which provides a place for celebrations, family picnics and other events, including outdoor worship.  The playground, which serves all neighborhood children was built in 2005.  Air conditioning and a paved parking lot was also added in recent memory. In 2008, an upstairs, handicap accessible, restroom was added.   In 2009, we built a sidewalk connecting the parking lot and the pavilion to allow easier access to the pavilion.  Plans in the future include building a walking path that connects with the Sorento neighborhood.   And eventually, a multi-purpose building, on one floor is in our plans.  We continue to grow to serve our community and world better.