Oakes Center

The olde Oakes... Center.

The Oakes Center was originally a shootoff an offshoot of the United Methodist Church of Summit. It started as a wooden Sunday School in 1898…

The wooden Sunday School, c. 1903

…and was replaced by the current stone building in 1919. Just three years later, in 1922, it was renamed in honor of Reverend Jay Adams Oakes.

The new stone church, c. 1920s?

In the 1980s, the Oakes Memorial Church and the United Methodist Church of Summit merged back together, leaving the building to be used as the Oakes Memorial Outreach Center, a home for nonprofit organizations.

In 2002, the Methodists decided to sell the building; luckily, before it could be razed and replaced by new housing, it was purchased by the Tiger Baron Foundation (a philanthropic organization with no web presence). Under Tiger Baron ownership, the residing nonprofit organizations were permitted to stay put. It’s officially the home of the Stony Hill Players, whose signs fly out in front.



Meola, P.E. (1998). Images of America: Summit. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC.

Sullivan, P. (2010). “Oakes Center plays host to philanthropy and the arts.” Summit Patch. http://summit.patch.com/articles/oakes-center-plays-host-to-philanthropy-and-the-arts


2 Comments to “Oakes Center”

  1. Nice new and historic photos, and a well-researched post! Thanks for sharing. By “shootoff,” you mean it was a plant church? Probably it was a church and sunday school, not just a sunday school. It would be unusual to build just a sunday school with a tower. Either way, the photo of the 1898 Shingle-style structure structure looks wonderful. Great Queen Ann-style detailing with pediments and naive Gibbs-surrounding on the tower round-headed windows. And the present 1919 Collegiate Gothic structure is great, as well. Both were the popular styles of their period. I bet it’d be hard work to determine the different stones in the present structure’s colorful rubble walling (certainly not structural). Great post.

    • By “shootoff,” I meant “offshoot.” I’m not good with words. I don’t know what a “plant church” is, or if there’s no such thing and you’re just mocking me.

      I thought the whole “that big building is just a Sunday school” thing sounded suspicious. Thanks for confirming.

      Here is the caption I’m working from:

      “At the end of the nineteenth century, children in East Summit needed a Sunday school closer to home than the center of town. Classes were offered in a rail station and then in a private home, but when enrollment rose above 60, the parent Methodist church realized a building was needed. It went up at 120 Morris Avenue at the corner of Russell Place [the current location of the Oakes Center] and was consecrated in 1898.”

      So maybe that Queen Ann-style structure represents the “parent Methodist church,” rather than the “Sunday school” the entire caption is about? That could make sense.

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