Opening services at the current building
at 2211 Needmore Rd were on
December 20,1959.
Click on photo to see a larger image.

History of the Local Congregation

Additional Accounts:

Memories From Along the Way
by Grace Warner

Memories of the Beginnings of
the Lord's Church in Northridge

by Estill D. Staggs

One Sunday afternoon in 1937 a group of brethren of the church of Christ in Dayton gathered at the Goolsby home in the Northridge area and conducted worship services in behalf of an invalid Christian.

The Sunday afternoon meetings continued and soon others in the neighborhood began to participate in the services. The crowd of worshippers quickly outgrew the small house. A vacated building on Neff Road was obtained by this group on a lease basis and on May 22, 1938, about 25 Christians met in the new location. The morning contribution was $9.71. The church at Northridge had begun!

The Neff Road property was purchased in February, 1947, and a full-time preacher was hired. Indebtedness on the property was paid off just a year and a half later.

As Northridge grew rapidly, it was decided to move again. The property at 5900 North Dixie Drive was purchased and in June, 1949, construction of a new building began. The facilities were completed that fall.

Interest, work, and growth continued. A preacher's house was purchased in 1953 and by January 1954, the building was overflowing. Instead of moving to a larger building, a number of brethren started another congregation on the South Smithville Road. In 1955, the facilities were again overtaxed and another congregation was started in Vandalia. Again in 1958, the building was holding overflowing crowds.

A five acre tract at 2211 Needmore Road was purchased and the church erected a 600 seat auditorium with sufficient classrooms. Opening day services were conducted December 20, 1959. Brother Willard Collins preached on that occasion.

An additional physical structure was added in November, 1964. At that time, a new wing of classrooms was erected on the east section of the building. These facilities continue to provide adequate space for our membership today.

This is our history. We know not what the future holds, however, we know who holds the future.
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Memories From Along the Way
Having grown up in a county in eastern Ohio where there were twenty-seven congregations of the church of Christ, who ever would have dreamed there wasn't a large congregation in or near Dayton, Ohio.

In December of 1918 my husband, F. S. (John) Warner, was discharged from the U. S. Army after fifteen months with the Medical Corp. After comparing farming in western Ohio with what he had known in eastern Ohio, he was convinced that he would like to live and farm where the hills aren't so high. After the holidays he took the advice of the poet who said, "go west, young man". Go west he did, and ended up near Dayton, only to learn that most farms had been rented. A hospitable farmer invited him to go home with him and spend the night so they could talk over his situation. By the next morning the man had offered to hire him as the extra tenant he needed to handle his farming operation.

In February of 1919, we packed our few belongings and moved into a tenant house near North Hampton in Pike Twp., Clark County. There were numerous church buildings, but no church of Christ. By corresponding with some preachers we knew, one referred us to Brother Rowe in Cincinnati. He gave us the address of two families in Dayton who met in their homes. So one bright Sunday morning in April of that first year, we journeyed in a horse and buggy from North Hampton through Springfield to Dayton. The address given to my husband was on Water Street. Being our first trip to Dayton, we asked a policeman for directions. Not one policeman did we meet who knew where there was a Water Street. We walked and walked and stopped every policeman we saw and inquired. By mid-afternoon, foot sore and weary, we decided that Water Street had long since evaporated or gone to sea. So two innocents abroad returned home just to find we had the wrong address. A little later we tried again and found a group of people who made up a congregation in Dayton: Sister Wolfe, two sons and two daughters living in Ohmer Park: Brother and Sister Stroup, a son and daughter on Ravenwood. It didn't take long to build a lasting relationship. Soon after we arrived in Dayton, the following group began to worship with us: Brother and Sister Ben Shawhan and daughter, Sister Shepherd (Mrs. Shawhan's mother) and a grand-daughter, and Sister Cora Sanger and a daughter. We still met in our homes, not always the same one. Occasionally, Brother Rowe would send some transient preacher up for Sunday morning worship.

Then in 1922, Brother and Sister Seldon White moved to Dayton. We had a mutual friend, W. S. Gibbons, who made it a point to visit us quite often and offer encouragement. Mrs. White and Mr. Sanger were baptized about the same time. That brought the number to sixteen, so we thought we had a crowd. The day Seldon White walked into the post office and inquired for a John Warner was really a red-letter day. Two brothers in the flesh were never closer than they became. They worked hand in hand. Little by little things began to move along and more people came, so we rented a hall. We met at several locations for the next few years: a school house on Fifth Street, Red Men's Hall on N. Main Street (1926-1929), a small church building at First and Orchard Streets (1929-1938) and Industries Building (January 1938 - May 1938). Some of these early members were: the David Warner's, the Harley's and the Powers' families. part of the group lived north of town, so it was decided that there were enough to have a congregation in two localities.

The northern group began to meet in the school house on Neff Road. I recall the date of the first meeting being May 22, 1938. Families who were members at this time I recall to be the Goolsby's, Moorefield's and Staggs'. While on Neff Road, we had two or three located preachers. The one, whose association grew until he was and is like one of our family, was M. F. Norwood.

Then one Lord's day my husband had to be in Cincinnati and attended worship at Walnut Hills. Brother S. P. Lowery was the guest speaker that day. After services they had a lengthy conversation discussing the possibility of Brother Lowry working full-time with the group in Northridge. Upon returning, my husband reported his findings to the home folk. All were very much impressed and asked him to contact Brother Lowry concerning his interest in our job offer. Brother Lowry agreed to come as a guest speaker and meet the congregation in May of 1947, He liked what he learned and accepted the challenge. I well remember the first Wednesday night meeting. It was mostly getting acquainted. Brother Lowry said, "Your next week's lesson will be Chapter One of Genesis. I will have lesson sheets ready." That was the best things that ever happened to Northridge. In a few weeks Brother Lowry began to talk about a regular location for the church, and plans began to form. It was slow going for awhile, but very interesting as the Lord blessed our effort. A building fund was started and hopes grew, as did the fund (Matthew 18:20). Finally there was enough in the building fund to justify floating a loan with Winter's Bank. The first real church building was on Division Avenue at North Dixie Drive, with opening services being held on November 27, 1949. So many have come and gone since that day. I only wish they could all know that they shared in that accomplishment. Only a remnant of the members of that date are still with us. This group would include: Goolsbys, Moorefields, Staggs. Pittmans, Harleys, the David Warners and the John Warners.

Among the membership on Division Avenue, there were numerous people from the Belmont and Bellbrook areas. It was decided to establish a congregation in the Belmont area. This was done and Brother Lowry worked with this congregation. The membership continued to grow at Northridge until it was necessary to have two morning services on Lord's day at Division Avenue location. Ten years later, December 1959, we moved into the present building on Needmore Road.

This article was written by Sister Grace Warner just prior to her death on 12/20/1983
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Memories of the Beginnings of the Lord's Church in Northridge
In the summer of 1936 my father, David Staggs, had a friend named Isham Goolsby. Isham, Louella (his wife), and Horace (his son) lived in a farmhouse on Neff Road. The Willowview Cemetery is now located there. Louella was invalid with arthritis. People from a congregation of the church of Christ would bring her communion and have worship each Sunday.

Isham invited my father to come to their house for the worship service. The next Sunday my father and sister, Virginia Staggs McCoy, attended the meeting. Virginia came home from the the visit and told us that she had found people worshipping as the Bible taught. We started attending and became member's of Christ's church.

In February of 1937 Gene Dod, my uncle, was baptized into Christ. He was the first in Northridge.

The people who were attentive to the needs of Louella Goolsby decided to get a location in Northridge. This was the building on Neff Road, just off of North Dixie Drive.

The financial records show that the first contribution ($9.71) was taken in this new location on May 22, 1938. There is a note in the record book showing that Isham Goolsby had given previous contributions, totaling $27.81, to Chester Harley and C, N, Hillard. This record further shows contributions on May 27, 1938 to be $16.83.

Because of the love of dedicated Christians, Northridge was begun! Some of those who were an inspiration to me at that time were: David and Edna Warner, Chester and Margaret Harley, John and Grace Warner, Charles and Mamie Agee, David and Flora Staggs, Isham and Louelle Goolsby, Horace Goolsby, and Virginia Staggs McCoy.

These were some of the ones who were instrumental in the beginning of the congregation at Northridge.

Written by Brother Estill Staggs, May 22, 1988
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