Community History – Shinkle Methodist Church

Community History - Covington - Shinkle Methodist Church

The establishment of Shinkle Methodist Church can be traced back to the year 1867. At that time, the members of Union Methodist Church (currently First Methodist Church) began a Sunday School program at the old 4th District School. The first teachers were Amos Shinkle and J.D. Hearne, both members of Union Methodist Church. In 1868, the Sunday School moved to an old warehouse that was once owned by the Hemingray Brothers (located at 211 Byrd Street). The warehouse also began to be used as a worship space. The new community took the name Shinkle Methodist Mission. The name was chosen in honor of Amos Shinkle, an early benefactor of the congregation. The Reverend William McKenfree Reiley was named the first pastor.

In 1869, Amos Shinkle purchased a lot on Powell Street (now 15th) for use by the congregation. Without delay, the congregation constructed a small frame church and classrooms on the site. Membership in the new church grew along with the Austinburg Neighborhood. Within two short decades, the congregation had outgrown the frame church building.

Plans for a new church were underway by 1890. Again, Amos Shinkle came to the congregation’s aid. Shinkle agreed to match, dollar for dollar, all funds collected for the new building. The old frame church was removed to make way for the new structure. While construction was underway, the members of the congregation held services in the 11th Street Methodist Church. The new Gothic Revival structure, featuring two graceful spires, was dedicated on November 13, 1892. The cost of the building reached $16,000, over $5,000 of which was donated by Amos Shinkle. The joyous dedicatory celebrations came to a quick end when the congregation was informed that Mr. Shinkle had passed away on that very evening.

The 1915 Tornado that swept through Northern Kentucky destroyed one of the spires at Shinkle Methodist. The congregation quickly had the structure repaired. In 1917 the 25th anniversary of the congregation was celebrated. Membership at this time had reached 350. A few years later, in 1922, a home on Byrd Street was purchased for use by the pastor. The home was dedicated on May 17, 1922. The 1920s marked an end of expansion in the Austinburg Neighborhood. Few new homes were built and the population of the area stabilized.

In the years following World War II, an exodus from Covington to the suburbs began. Already in 1947, the Methodists of Covington began studying the future of the various congregations in the area. This committee recommended a merger of Shinkle with St. Luke Methodist (formally 11th Street Methodist) at a future date. Membership at Shinkle stood at nearly 600 at this time, but it was declining. Despite this recommendation, the members of Shinkle financed the construction of several new classrooms in the basement of the church in 1950. The total cost of this project was $7,500.

By 1960, discussions concerning the merger of Shinkle and St. Luke congregations were again being conducted. Both congregations, however, decided to continue as separate entities. Membership at Shinkle continued to decline. In the late 1980s, the members of Shinkle United Methodist Church decided to sell their church on 15th Street in Covington. The sale took place in April 1988. A new site was purchased in the growing City of Independence, south of Covington. While their new church was under construction, the congregation worshipped at Beachgrove Elementary School. The new building was ready for services on October 8, 1989. The building was consecrated on January 14, 1990.

Shinkle M.E. Church Centennial Anniversary Booklet 1867-1967; A Heritage of Covington Churches (Published by the Kenton County Historical Society in 1987); Kentucky Post, January 13, 1990, p. 8k.

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