St. John's Methodist celebrates 125 years in Kingman

KINGMAN - The first church incorporated in Kingman will kick off its 125th anniversary Saturday with a picnic in the park.

St. John's United Methodist Church is offering free hot dogs, chips and drinks from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Firefighter Memorial Park. The festivities also include children's games and other activities.

"This is a big deal for the church and for the town," said Heidi Heer, office administrator at St. John's. "We were here before Arizona became a state in 1912, and we have seen a lot of changes over the years. The church has played a big part in Kingman, and we're hoping for a big crowd."

Heer said the church, which now has about 380 members, was incorporated in 1888 and located at 425 E. Spring St. when it was built. A fire destroyed the building in 1912, said Heer, and the church rebuilt there in 1917.

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has placed St. John's on the National Register of Historic Places, the rebuilt structure was constructed of locally quarried tufa stone, which is a type of limestone.

The plaque states "the use of the classic Roman temple form with six Tuscan columns on a raised podium with pediment metal railings is rare for the Neo-Classical Revival period. This is the best example of this type in Arizona."

Movie stars Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married at the church on March 29, 1939.

Heer said the church moved to its present location, 1730 Kino Ave., in 1997. The Rev. Pam Wagner, who has been there three years, is its first female senior pastor.

The church is planning other events throughout the year, including a summer festival, and will announce them as time draws near, said Heer.