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Park Gate Baptist Church - Park Gate PA

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In 1898 a handful of citizens of the small community of Park Gate, located just outside of Ellwood City, organized what soon became the Christian Church of Park Gate. A small church was soon erected and dedicated in December 1898. The building was severely damaged during a fierce storm in May 1903, but was repaired later that year. Due to financial issues the building was sold in 1907 and became a mission of the First Baptist Church of Ellwood City. In 1920 a group of the original parishioners banded together and re-acquired the building and renamed it as the independent Park Gate Baptist Church. In 1943 the congregation acquired an old Methodist church in nearby Belton and opened a mission chapel there – which it operated for approximately two decades. Those two buildings were in use until a portion of a new church (shown above) was opened on River Road in 1964. (2012)

The Reverend Frank M. Kroll (1915-2004) (shown at center), a native of Butler who served as a U.S. Army medic during World War II, took over as pastor in January 1948 and faithfully served the congregation for the next thirty-three years. His skills as a construction contractor were put to use when the work of erecting a new church was undertaken during the 1960’s. Kroll, one of Ellwood City’s most outstanding citizens, also elevated the missionary outreach and youth programs of the church to new heights. He retired in 1981 but continued to serve the congregation in a part time status as “pastor emeritus” for another decade. All three of his sons, including Jerry Kroll (on left) and Woody Kroll (on right), followed in his footsteps and became ordained ministers. (1969)

The congregation outgrew the old church and in 1956 several acres were acquired on River Road – just near the Koppel Bridge – to build a much larger house of worship. Construction of a new church commenced in 1960 and progressed slowly. Almost all of the work was performed by the Reverend Kroll, an experienced carpenter and handy man, and the men of the congregation. A fire severely damaged the old church in June 1964 and it was soon abandoned. Services were held in the mission church in Belton for the next five months, but were soon moved to the completed Fellowship Hall of the new church – which was still under construction. The sanctuary of the new church was finally completed and dedicated on Saturday, December 1, 1968. (c2008)

In April 1972 an adjoining property of eleven acres was acquired by the congregation. A large educational wing (seen on right) was added on to the church and dedicated during a ceremony held on Sunday, November 18, 1973. The congregation, led by the Reverend Alan Langelli who served as senior pastor from 1996-2009, celebrated its 100th anniversary with several events held in June 1998. The church is still in service today. (1973)


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