1895:  Swedish Mission Church
N. Pine Street looking west

photo credit: John G. Coleman Collection 

McKean County Miner
Smethport, Pa.  June 18, 1895
page 3     column 6
Swedish Mission Church Built 1894

The Swedish Free Christian Evangelical Church of Smethport was erected a year ago ( 1894) at a cost of $1624.39 ( price paid for lot included)

The citizens of this borough subscribed the liberal sum of $ 817.75; the amount donated from other places was $ 158 and the collection at the dedication $ 49.79 making a total of $1025.54.  A balance of $ 598.85 is yet to be paid.

The members of the aforesaid church and congregation wish, through the columns of this paper to give expression of their gratitude to the many kind benefactors who have so substantially aided their cause.

Free Christian Evangelical Church
Smethport: Timeless Home @2003

The Swedish Free Christian Evangelical Church has its origins in The Great Awakening, a revival which swept Sweden in the late 1850s.

In the early 1890s, devotional meetings were held by Swedish settlers in the Smethport home of Mr. and Mrs. John Carlson.  On February 12, 1891, a legal incorporation was granted to Mr. Carlson and 18 founding members of the church under the name, The Swedish Free Evangelical Church of Smethport, PA.  The charter members included:  Mr. and Mrs. John Carlson, Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Dolkie, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Norman, MR. and Mrs. John Hallstrom, Ida Johnson, Olivia Peterson, Anna Swenson, Ida Engstrom, Arvid Carlson, Sam Bloomberg, P. J. Lundgren, Victor Engstrom, Rubin Johnson, and Henning Anderson.

Later, the church became known as the Swedish Mission Church in order to distinguish it from the Lutheran Church, also Swedish speaking, and to emphasize its inception as a Mission Society.  On March 12, 1894, a decision was made to purchase a lot on the corner of Pine and King Streets and erect a church building.  The church was completed that year and dedicated September 21-23, 1894, with Pastor C. A. Widing presiding.  In the summer of 1902, plans for a parsonage were made and the house was completed in the fall with the Rev. K. A. Anderson and family as the first occupants.  Other pastors were Thomas Burkholder, Richard Walker, Glenn Moore, Wayne Shimko, Nicholas Tancordo, Herman Pickles, Arthur Begley, Kenneth Weldon, and James Owens.  For many years the Swedish language was used in all services.  About 1930 the Sunday school changed to English language, and about 1940 the church services were changed.

The church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1943 with four charter members still in the congregation.  They were Mrs. Ida Engstrom Bloomberg, Mr. Victor Engstrom, Mr. John Hallstrom, and Mr. Henning Anderson.

The church still stands on Pine Street with much of the original structure and charm, serving the Smethport area as an Evangelical faith based church.  Services are held Sunday mornings under the direction of Pastor Jim Owens.

south on Pine north on Pine hike through to Hill Street