From “Domestic Review” 1929. Jefferson Ave. ME Church
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
Melt the butter and lightly brown the flour in it. Add the chicken broth or water and stir until boiling. Beat the egg yolks, add the milk, and stir into the sauce. Bring to the boiling point. Remove from burner, add lemon juice and serve hot with fried chicken.
Cook’s Notes: This was a very quick and easy recipe. There aren’t any process photos since once I started it came together very quickly and there wasn’t much time to stop and document. The sauce is thick and more like a gravy than a sauce. I didn’t have any fried chicken as recommended, but I did have chicken nuggets and it was delicious.
“The Ladies Aid Society was first organized in 1863 and it has done yeoman’s work for the church ever since. The Society has paid the church insurance; kept the organ in repair; paid the organist and sexton; heated the church; provided dishes and furnishings for the parsonage and the church kitchen; collected unpaid church pledges; and carried on many other essential activities.”
--From Our Little Brown Church: the Jefferson Avenue United Methodist Church of Saginaw, Michigan, Lloyd J. Cartright, 1978
Since its cornerstone was laid in 1867, Jefferson Avenue Methodist Church has been a landmark on South Jefferson Avenue. However, the congregation was organized much earlier, on December 16, 1852, as the “Methodist Episcopal Church of the Village of East Saginaw. The first service was held at the Irving House, the community’s leading hotel.
The congregation’s first permanent home was completed in the fall of 1855, an elaborate Carpenter Gothic style building located on the southeast corner of Federal and South Washington – SVSU’s Riverfront Saginaw building is now located on the site. In his history of Saginaw, James Cooke Mills noted: “The style of the [original] church building was pleasing, it was said, to only one member of the board of trustees, Norman Little, who represented the Hoyt interests and had great influence in such matters.”
During the Civil War, planning started for a new building. When the Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1863, one of their main goals was to help and support raising funds for the project. [While we know when the Ladies Aid was formed, we do not know when the “Yellow Sauce” - the real focus of this post -was invented.] Property was purchased in the 300 block of South Jefferson Avenue and construction started in 1867 on the new structure. Designed by Chicago architects A. Barrows and Garnsey, it took over a year to complete the building and was dedicated on December 28, 1868.
The sanctuary seats 900 people and is located on the second floor above the noise and activity of the street. Originally the building had a steeple rising to 162 feet – at that time, far taller than any other structure in the city. It was toppled by a storm in 1896. According to newspaper accounts “residents in the neighborhood long feared the tall spire which overtopped them to dizzy height and some of them [said] they are not sorry it has disappeared, especially since no loss of life was occasioned by its fall.” The tower was repaired and reconstructed without a steeple. The current steeple was constructed in 1987 and is much shorter than the original steeple.
During a 1913 remodeling of the interior, designed by Cowles and Mutschellar, the sanctuary was reworked, and new stained-glass windows were installed. In May 1938, a parish addition was dedicated and in 1952 a chapel and education wing, designed by Frederick W. Wigen and Associates were constructed.
After a merger with another congregation in the early 21st century, Jefferson Avenue United Methodist Church became Grace United Methodist Church. In 2008 the building was sold. However, it remains a South Jefferson Avenue landmark and is now the home of Kingdom Life Ministries.