Church History

We strive to be a welcoming, friendly church where new people soon become involved in the life of the church. We cherish our 150 year heritage of Christian witness in Solon, and as disciples of Jesus Christ we are committed to learning, living, sharing and celebrating God’s Word.

The history of Pioneer Memorial Presbyterian Church can be traced to the early days of the community of Solon. The first church formally organized was in 1834. In 1840, through a land deal between the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations, the Solon church was designated to be Presbyterian.

The old church building in the photograph (now housing the Solon Historical Society) is the third building on that site in the center of town. Through many changes and rebuildings, it became the home of our present congregation. The Disciples of Christ denomination originally built there and then rebuilt in 1858. Records from the Disciples church dated August 6, 1860, report the following: “Brother J. A. Garfield was engaged to speak to the congregation one half of the time for one year. Subscriptions taken up amounting to two hundred and fifty dollars.” He was to become President James A. Garfield. In 1920, Solon was still a small rural community. A Community Church joined with the Disciples and the Presbyterians to worship and work together – not an unusual merger in rural America. Each member designated the denomination with which he wished to be identified. The resulting Federated Church of Solon worshiped in a building across SOM Center Road from the pictured structure.

In 1951 part of the congregation moved across the street into the abandoned Disciples building and became Pioneer Memorial Church. They extensively repaired and remodeled the building which was subsequently deeded to the Pioneer Memorial Church by the surviving “overseers” of the Disciples Church. It was in the mid-fifties that the congregation became affiliated with the Presbyterian denomination as Pioneer Memorial Presbyterian Church. This affiliation continues today. Pioneer Church is one of forty-seven northeastern Ohio churches in the Presbytery of the Western Reserve. The church grew in members as Solon grew and in 1967 they decided to build a new facility on seven acres donated by a member. The Solon Road building was occupied on June 1, 1969, by the congregation which processed from the old church to the new carrying items used in worship with them. The original structure contained the sanctuary, narthex, offices, mezzanine, nursery, and a small kitchen.

Thirteen years later, an addition was built containing the fellowship hall/gym, a large kitchen, lounge, and two classrooms, enabling an expanded program of education and fellowship.

Fifteen years later, in 1997, another addition was begun to provide expanded office space, more classrooms and a redecorated sanctuary. Building growth followed closely the growth of programs within Pioneer Church. As we strive to serve our members and the community in which we live, programs and services have been added, resulting in the passage of many hundreds of children and adults through our doors each week. Through the years there have been six called Pastors, two Associate Pastors, and numerous youth and/or education specialists who have provided leadership to the congregation. One member who was a part of the original fellowship in 1951 is still active in church life.