Ask Todd About … the oldest church

Todd, what is the oldest church in Stark County? This was not an easy question to find the answer to. Stark County legend and lore would have you believe the Basilica of St. John the Baptist on McKinley Avenue NW in Canton is the oldest.

asktodd_signQ: Todd, what is the oldest church in Stark County?

A: This was not an easy question to find the answer to. Stark County legend and lore would have you believe the Basilica of St. John the Baptist (formerly called St. John the Baptist Catholic Church) on McKinley Avenue NW in Canton is the oldest. And while the roots of the church likely are the oldest in Stark County, the beautiful building there is not.

St. John’s traces its roots to just after Canton was founded. John Shorb settled here with his family and were the first representatives of the Catholic Church here in 1807. By 1812, there were 15 Catholic families, and eventually, Mass was held on the Shorb farm. In 1823, the first church was built on the land where the current church sits. The current church was built in 1871.

The First Church of the Resurrection dates to 1810. According to the church’s history on its website, the original congregation was made up of two churches that shared one building. Eventually, the two churches became one.

However, the church’s current building on Tuscarawas Street E was built in 1861. That is 10 years before St. John’s.

Neither of those is the oldest church. According to Stark County Auditor’s Office information, the oldest church still in use was built in 1829. It is the McDonaldsville St. Paul United Methodist Church at 7641 Wales Avenue NW, Jackson Township. However, Pastor Erv Urschitz said the building has been rebuilt a few times (initially in 1829, again in 1847, 1949 and a more recent renovation in the last 25 years).

A building isn’t what makes a church. It’s the people. And any of the three aforementioned churches can make a claim.

Q: Are the bike lanes on Walnut Avenue legal?

A:I presume you’re asking this question because the bike lanes on Walnut are going in both directions on a one-way street. Are they legal? The short answer to that is yes, because the Federal Highway Administration and the Ohio Department of Transportation signed off on the Canton plans, including the contra-flow lane. Also, there is no state law against contra-flow bike lanes. However, the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws does point out what your parents always told you: Bicyclists must ride with, not against, vehicular traffic.

Now if there is an accident involving a contra-flow biker and a car on Walnut, these questions I’m sure will come up in the civil lawsuit, and the city better have a good response. Still, I like the idea of the city’s putting the lanes in—paid for with federal and state grant money—because it promotes a healthier livelihood.

Q:Is this the lowest gas ever has been?

A:Well, I’m not going to complain … but it has been lower. When adjusted for inflation, the lowest price ever for gasoline was in 1998 when it was $1.48 a gallon. Of course, gas has been hovering around there for weeks now, give or take a dime here and there. If the price maintains this current pace, 2016 could have the lowest price on record. However, last year, the average price was $2.36 in the United States. So while we’re enjoying the sub-$1.50 a gallon, not everyone is. At any rate, we’re close and off to a great start.

If you have a question you want answered in Ask Todd, send it to asktodd@cantonrep.com, via Twitter @AskToddAbout, or call 330-580-8340.