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Bob Allen is the executive director of the Selma District Chamber of Commerce.

In my last article, I shared the beginning history of the Presbyterian Church and the development of the Methodist Church in Selma. So today, I want to continue to add to that history by sharing the history of other churches in Selma.

Services led by Rev. Martin Miller in October 1880 were the foundation for the November 1881 Selma organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Lots were purchased and a 150-seat church was built in 1886 at Whitson and Branch, the facility served the congregation until completion of a new brick building completed in 1908.  In July 1938, it was torn down.  In July of 1939, a new church a Selma and Cross Streets was opened.

St. Joseph Catholic Church was preceded by several years of masses in private homes and stores.  First of these was in 1881, probably in the old railroad section house where a Visalia priest served the congregation.  The first church record is for June 18, 1887, in A. Barieau’s original wooden two-story building located on East Front.  Nicolas Lang was the first server.  Need grew for a church building to hold the growing congregation.  Property was acquired at 1464 Grove St. just south of the C&K Canal and a simple but handsome church was construction in 1888.  First resident priest was the Rev. Joseph Keosseyan, who arrived May 21, 1913.  He was a native of Armenia who came to the United States after his ordination in Turkey.  He pastored the Selma Church until his death in 1941.  The parish was formed and named St. Joseph, on Nov. 28, 1913.   Over the years, large murals depicting nationalities in Selma were painted.  The building and paintings were all lost in a fire May 29, 1959.  The year before, 11 acres at Rose and Dockery was purchased, and on that property, a new 700-seat church was completed and was dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 2, 1961. The Church continues to serve the Selma area today.

We will continue our History of Selma Church’s next week.  Until then — Shop Local, Shop Selma    

Thanks again to Randy McFarland for his "Book of Selma History."  He continues to remind us of the rich history that we have here in Selma.                           

Bob Allen is the Executive Director of the Selma Chamber of Commerce.

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