"Sometime in 1897, Claude G. Hart, seeing some street urchins at play, invited them to his home and began a Sunday School. Here, the Island Christian Church had its humble origin." A canvass was made of 57 family homes on Wheeling Island on October 18, 1897, and on December 6 of the same year, a declaration was made stating the desire and intention to organize a new Church. Five months later on March 30, 1898, about one hundred persons signified their desire for a series of gospel meetings. A room was rented for permanent quarters and later house, reserving a room for the Sunday School and prayer services. Interest in the work grew rapidly, and converts were made. The congregation developed and prepared to build a new house of worship. The new church was completed and dedicated on April 17, 1902. In a short while new Sunday School rooms were added and by 1918 the membership had grown to 272. The most traumatic event of the first fifty years was the 1936 flood. Lost were the pipe organ, two pianos, carpet, pews, and all the church's records. In addition, considerable damage was done to the building itself.
Late in 1951 it was learned that the church was in the path of the Fort Henry Bridge that would eventually exit the planned Wheeling Tunnel and cross the Island to Ohio. Moving or demolishing the church were the only two available options. After long negotiations with the State, the decision was to move the building approximately 200 feet to the West where it stands today.
Truly the most traumatic event in the entire 100 year history occurred late in the evening of Saturday, June 14th, 1974. That was the night that an arsonist lit the insulation between the building and its siding, and after smoldering for some time, a raging inferno destroyed the structure, contents, and records of the Island Christian Church. The decision was made to demolish the entire structure above the sanctuary floor, and prepare the remaining basement to house the congregation. This was accomplished by November, and the first worship service back at 59 Zane was held on Thanksgiving Sunday.
The Island Christian Church has stood the test of time and tribulations and remains a strong presence on Wheeling Island.