IT ALL STARTED WHEN…
While there are older church congregations in Bradley County, East Side Church of Christ is the oldest congregation in the city of Cleveland, TN.
In 1913, Brother J.M. Carl and his wife moved from Nashville to Cleveland. They had always been accustomed to attending church every Sunday. Since there was no church in Cleveland, they got busy rounding up the few members that were here . The original membership consisted of Bro. and Sis. Carl, Bro. and Sis. Jake Richmond, Brother Hardy, and Bro. and Sis. W.C. Phillips. Brother Phillips held tent meetings around the area to establish churches of Christ. They met on Sept. 29, 1913, in a lodge hall across from the Courthouse that is now known as Stampers Furniture.
The following was recorded in the East Side personal record book: “On September 29, 1913, less than a dozen members met … to worship as the scriptures direct and erected the first organization of the church of Christ in Cleveland, Tennessee.”
In 1916, a small parcel on 35th Street was purchased for a building, and sometime in the 1930s, the congregation built an auditorium in a small, square building, which now stands in the center between two later additions at the current location at 252 Wildwood Avenue. By January 1947, the adjoining corner lot on 4th Street was purchased and the house on it was removed. In 1949-50 the church building was remodeled and enlarged. Adjoining property was purchased in 1965 and again in 1969. In February 1971, the new auditorium with a seating capacity of just under 500 was completed.
“When the new auditorium was completed in 1971, the original auditorium was divided into six classrooms, which were ready for use in the autumn of 1971. In 1986, a third wing was added on the corner of 4th and Cincinnati streets, which consists of fellowship hall, offices, restrooms and four additional classrooms. In 2004, additional property was purchased across the street for future parking and in 2005, the house on the corner of 4th Street and Wildwood Avenue was purchased and demolished for more parking space.