St. Paul's Parish has an amazing history

The congregation was formed in October 1864. The church was built in 1865 making St. Paul's Episcopal Church is one of the older churches in Ohio. Still in its original wooden form, it is located just south of the downtown area of the village of Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, Ohio.

History Tours are available Tuesday Mornings at 9am in the summer months or by appointment.
Contact St. Paul's at 419-285-5981 . If you have information related to our history, we would love to hear from you!

In the spring of 1864, the residents of South Bass Island invited J Mills Kendrick, a student at the theological school in Gambier, to come and visit the island. After the visit, he agreed to come to the island to help develop an Episcopal congregation. Arriving in July they began meeting in the school and by fall they were ready to petition the Diocese of Ohio to become an Episcopal congregation. Bishop Bedel approved their request November 7th and announced it at the next General Convention of the Diocese in June 1865.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church was built in the summer of 1865. The land was pruchased from Joseph de Rivera by Jay Cooke "for the consideration of $10" in May 1865. The cogregation raised funds for the church building the winter of 1864-1865. In the spring Mr. Cooke also made a contribution. Although Mr. Cooke made a large financial contribution, much of the work was accomplished by parishioners completing the church in less than six months.

The church on the lot at the corner of Lakeview and Catawba or 623 Catabwa Ave. The rectory, known as "The Hartman House" is next door at 619 Catawba Ave. The "Hartman House," was built in 1959-1963 replaced the origional 1865 structure. The Hartman house is named for Marylib Vroman Hartman whose estate made a large contribution to build the house in the 1950's which was matched by the parishioners.

The complete history of the church is being prepared for the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the congregation (1864) and the 150th celebration of the first service held in the church (October 1865). There are many resources being used to compile this complete history.


The records of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Put-in-Bay, Ohio, were transferred for microfilming to the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University in October 1984, with the cooperation of Reverend Neilson Rudd who was St Paul's rector at the time. The Bowling Green copies consists of copies of parish record books dating from 1865-1962, which include histories, financial abstracts, lists of communicants, baptisms, marriages, deaths and confirmations, as well as a church constitution and two letters regarding this church's membership in the Ohio Diocese. To view information about these records, click here:

Church records are also located in:
Grace Luebke Local History Room Material Holdings
Harris-Elmore Public Library
328 Toledo Street (P.O. Box 45)
Elmore, OH 43416
These Records include:

  • Constitution April 10, 1908
  • Correspondence October 22, 1912, July 30, 1952
  • Record Book 1865-1962
    • The Journal of Jay Cooke by James E Pollard (1935) contains copies of some key documents and reflections on the sermons of various ministers at St Paul's

      Island Splendor by Robert Dodge talks about the development of the Church in Chapter 2. Articles about Jay Cooke also mention St. Paul’s.

      The University of Virginia has some letters written by Laura Cooke Barney in the 1860s. There are a few brief references to St. Paul's in her letters. The Barney family left many documents to the University of Virginia.

      The archives of the Diocese of Ohio has some records which may be seen by appointment. The Diocesan newspaper called Church Life has short articles about the parish beginning with the editions published in 1912.

      The Hayes Membrial Librry has many origional documents. Many of the Cook family records were left to this library.

      The archives of the Reformed Episcopal Church have limited information about the years from 1869 to 1912. It is primarily in the convention journals.


Island History

During the War of 1812, one of the greatest battles occurred just to our north between the British and the American soldiers. Who can forget the famous words on Commodore Perry's flag...
"Don't Give Up the Ship"?

The Perry Monument honors the memory of Commodore Oliver Hazzad Perry and the sailors who were lost in one of the battles.

Click here for more information on the island.
(external link)


JZ Put-in-Bay-Sunrise 2012 06 19

St. Paul's Episcopal Church Vision Statement

Our mission is to welcome all people, encourage Christian growth, and proclaim the Gospel by word and deed.