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Lakeside Heritage Trail
27. Epworth Lodge
125 W. Sixth Street
Epworth Lodge Circa 1930
The C. Kirk Rhein, Jr. Center for the Living Arts 2022
Epworth Lodge was built in 1919 for $5,000 as a headquarters and dining hall for the Epworth League Youth Conferences. Founded in 1889, the Epworth League is a Methodist young adult association for people ages 18 to 35, and had its beginning in Cleveland, Ohio.
A large front porch was added to the building in 1921, and by 1925 over 1,300 youth had used the building. However, by 1940 district institutes replaced the previous conferences. By 1962, dining facilities had moved to Wesley Lodge, and Epworth Lodge was converted into an overflow dorm. In 1965, Epworth Lodge was redone as a youth center with installation of a stage, rest rooms, recreation equipment and fresh paint.
During the 1990’s, the Lakeside Heritage Society used the site for their annual Labor Day Auction. Epworth Lodge almost was razed twice, first in 1960 to provide a site for a new dining hall and again in 1986 to make way for residential development. By the late 1990s, Epworth Lodge was in sad repair and used only for storage. Then, in 1999 the building gained new life. Restored and renamed the C. Kirk Rhein Center for the Living Arts, it is the Rhein family’s living memorial to C. Kirk Rhein, Jr. a TWA flight 800 crash victim.
Arts and crafts activities for all ages have grown continuously since the opening of the Rhein Center. In 2013, six concrete pads were poured outside for placement of tent canopies to increase classroom space.
In 2014, in an effort to increase efficiency and class availability, the center moved to on-line registration. That change had a tremendously positive impact on registrants and staff. It was Lakeside’s first on-line registration platform, and its success paved the way for similar registration and processing for other programing.
Taught by a wide variety of Lakeside and area artists and crafters, each summer the Rhein Center continues to provide Lakesiders an opportunity to express creativity, experience the arts and seek fellowship.