In 1857, Methodist Episcopal congregates held Sunday School and Sunday services in the town's original town hall. In 1861, the congregation laid the Old Stone Church's cornerstone on September 14, 1861, and then opened it for services in November of that year.
The building cost $1,940 to build, is 35 x 60 feet, and is comprised of Lemont stone tailings donated by Lemont's Brown Quarry.3 The Old Stone Church design is reminiscent of small churches found in New England, which is no surprise since many settlers to Lemont hailed from the New York - New England area.
In addition to its theological usage, the Old Stone Church,
Almost all the early town migrants and immigrants arrived in order to work on the canal, as either contract holders or laborers. Contract holders mostly were comprised of Americans from New England while immigrants (Irish, German, Scandinavians, and others) dominated the unskilled workforce. As a result, Lemont's population reached 3,000 people by 1848.7
The canal digging led to the aforementioned discovery of the highly coveted Lemont limestone.As the quarries grew, more immigrants arrived, such as Poles, Bohemians, Austrians, and Italians, who also worked as low-paid laborers and in typical 19th century fashion, enjoyed many skirmishes with quarry owners. Indeed, in 1885, a strike resulted in the arrival of the Illinois Militia for the intentions of breaking it, resulting in three deaths and many injuries -- more died shortly thereafter in another skirmish.
By the 1890s, Lemont had grown to more than 10,000 people, much of that due to mining and quarrying. The downtown region, not far from Old Stone Church, gained fame for its Smokey Row, an area dominated by taverns and brothels that was generally regarded as one of the least moral places in the country.
Over time, settlers remained and formed a village that had less to do with quarrying and more to do with building a community. The Old Stone Church represents one of the many places that served as a place for forging a community.