Young entrepreneurs are breathing life into Baskin United Methodist / Presbyterian Church.

Layton and Chelsea Curtis are remodeling the 98-year-old building in hopes of hosting events such as birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and community meetings. The building will be renamed Sawmill Venue.

“We are wanting to give back to the community,” Layton said. “We are offering a place to hold meetings along with smaller events that are affordable to everyone.”

Congregations who met at the building started from humble beginnings.

Before members had a place of worship, the group would meet at different times in Baskin’s baptist church. Soon the Methodists and Presbyterians of Baskin organized a union Sunday school and met in a store building.

In the summer of 1921, a committee had been appointed to devise plans and raise funds for the erection of a church. Public subscriptions were asked for and in short time sufficient funds were raised.

The building was constructed later in 1921 with wood prepared in nearby Baskin sawmills. At the time, those unable to give money to the project, gave labor and some gave both, according to an account written by Kathlyn Goforth.

The church was built “for the people had a mind to work,” Goforth wrote.

The Presbyterian church of Baskin had 34 charter members.

Judy Mock’s memories of events held at the church are fond and dear. Mock was one of seven children of longtime member Lenell Browder.

Christmas services, Easter picnics, Sunday School lessons and Bible School are just some of her memory highlights.

“I remember going to Sunday school as a young child and sitting on a little brown stool,” Mock said. “I have so many wonderful memories of the church. We are so thrilled Layton and Chlesea are saving the church building.”

Currently, restoration efforts are ongoing with an opening planned in

early Fall.

“We have both wanted to own our own business,” Chelsea said. “We are excited about this.”

The Curtis couple plan on removing the tiled ceiling to expose the wood ribs along with repainting the interior white.

Additionally, the duo plan on converting the two Sunday school rooms into dressing rooms, expanding the kitchen and building a pavilion in the back.

They also plan on leaving the stained glass windows that run along the sanctuary’s side walls.

Shrubs and trees have already been trimmed on the campus and there are plans of expanding the parking lot.

“We want to thank the Presbyterian Church and Mr. John Guice,” Layton said. “Without him, this would not have been feasible.”

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