History Happens Here: Chandler Heights Community Church

Church holds historical distinction of serving as QC’s first house of worship

An early photo of the church that would come to be known as Chandler Heights Community Church in Queen Creek. (Special to the Independent/San Tan Historical Society)

 

History oftentimes is forgotten as time passes. This series features old photographs taken in and around Queen Creek, held up in the exact place that they were originally taken in the style of Dear Photograph.

This month’s photo comes from the San Tan Historical Society.

The first church in the community of Rittenhouse, now known as Queen Creek, was constructed in 1921, just north of the railroad tracks off Ellsworth Road. The church was under the umbrella of the Presbyterian Church.

The site is now bordered by Queenland Manor and Nauvoo Station communities.

According to documents provided by the San Tan Historical Society, the funds to build the church were donated by an unnamed woman from Pennsylvania. The labor was donated by Jasper and Lee Sossaman as well as other members of the community.

According to documents provided by the church, written by S.D. Mather, the first pastor was Mr. Henderson.

By the mid-1930s, there were only a few families who worshipped at the church, so it was closed.

Chandler Heights, at the time, was looking for a church and acquired the building.

According to documents provided by the church and written by Betty Binner Nash, the cost of moving the church was $300.

Dr. A.J. Chandler donated the land where the church that would come to be known as Chandler Heights Community Church stands to this day. He required the land to be used for a church or else the land would revert to his heirs, according to the document.

The building was moved in 1935, according to the document.

 

Chandler Heights Community Church in Queen Creek as it looks in 2017. (Independent Newspapers/Arianna Grainey)

 

According to Ms. Nash’s document, she remembered the floor had to be completely repaired because “hobos” had burned holes in the floor when camping in the building.

In 1974, the church pulled away from the Presbyterian Church and became non-denominational. In 2013 the church was renamed to its current name of Chandler Heights Community Church.

Dan Klienman, who has been attending the church for 10 years, said the church has a hitching post to tie up horses.

“I remember there was a gentleman who has passed away now, but he used to ride his horse to church,” he said. “I think he was the last horseback rider we had ride to church.”

Mark Ward has been pastor of the church since Aug. 1.

“We have about 11 people right now,” he said. “There has only every been about 50 people. The building wouldn’t really hold any more than that. You could probably cram 60 people in there if you needed to.”

Church services are at 10 a.m. Sundays at 26800 Mandarin Drive. For more information, visit the church’s page on Facebook.

Editor’s note: Want to help with this project? If you have any old photographs that would be interesting to recreate in this way, e-mail them to agrainey@newszap.com for consideration. Include any information that you have about the photo subject and content. Are you on instagram? Follow this project on instagram @history_happens_here_az.

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