The church of Christ which meets at the corner of Sixth and Washington Streets in Marietta began meeting around 1884. Services were first held in the homes of members, in a boat house, and at the Washington County Court House. On October 11, 1890, the first elders were appointed and some five years later a building was purchased on Fort Harmar Square in West Marietta. The building was used for worship until March 1913, when it was practically destroyed by the worst flood in the history of the Ohio Valley. The church met in various places while constructing a building at the corner of Sixth and Washington Streets. The first service at this location was November 16, 1913. The scripture text used was Hebrews 1:1-14; 2:1-4 and the first hymn was “I’m Standing on the Rock of Ages.”
A new auditorium was completed in 1968 which seats over 500. The first service was on November 3, 1968. The same Bible text in Hebrews and the same hymn were used in that service in the new auditorium. They were also used at the 75th anniversary of the congregation which was observed November 20, 1988.
In the chruch library are displayed pictures of the west side building, the 1913 building at the corner of Sixth and Washington Streets, and the building following construction changes made in 1942 and 1962. Two views of the present building taken in 1968 and 1979 are also displayed.
The church has helped to establish several nearby congregations over the years: one in Williamstown, WV, in 1924, one on Harmar Hill in Marietta in 1955, and one in Beverly, OH, in 1956. Many congregations have been sent support through the years, some on a monthly basis and others with one-time contributions. Many individuals have been assisted as have famine-plagued and flood-ravaged areas of the world through the benevolent program of the congregation and through the Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville, TN, which the congregation supports. Support has also been, and continues to be, given to missionaries involved in mission work. Involvement in foreign evangelism sites over the years have included Italy, Guyana, Rhodesia, France, Austria, Gambia, the Philippines, Thailand, New Guinea, India, Germany, and South Africa. Evangelistic efforts in the United States are too numerous to list. The longest continuing support has gone to the work in Germany which started in 1950. In 1953 the Sixth and Washington Street congregation, with the assistance of several sister congregations, constructed a building in Munich-Liam, Germany. Since 1953 Gottfried Reichel, a native German educated in the United States, was supported by this congregation. This support continued for a number of years in carrying on an extensive World Radio Program. The congregation also supports 10 native Indian preachers each month through Brother Bonthu and has constructed church buildings in India. Brother Bob Hare, who devoted his life’s work toward spreading the gospel in Europe, was supported from 1950 until his death in 1995. The congregation now supports Eastern European Bible Mission for the printing of Bibles.
Help has also been given to various children’s homes through the years and currently support is sent to the Potter Orphan Home in Kentucky, Mid-Western Children’s Home in Ohio, and Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch on Long Island, New York. Several members of the congregation support children, an orphanage, and a home for widows in India monthly.
Many evangelistic meetings have been held here and in mission areas by our ministers. Radio, television, and the internet are being used by the congregation in spreading the gospel.
In 1946 the Ohio Valley Lectureship had its beginning at the Sixth & Washington building and area congregations have continued the lectureship annually. The 50th anniversary was hosted by our congregation in 1995.
Over the years the following preachers have served the Marietta congregation: J.J. Dutton, J.M. Cochran, M.A. Harvey, Will Harkins, W.O. Thompson, C.E. Fogle, H.W. Bankes, Fred E. Dennis, Oliver Johnson, C.C. Abbott, Boyd Fanning, Homer Utley, E.G. Couch, Robert Roe, C.J. Kirkpatrick, Claude Davis, Justus Hesson, Don Gardner, Clarence DeLoach, J. Ridley Stroop, James Usrey, Charles L. Brown, and Donald W. Craighead. Roger A. Rush is the present minister.