The Cost of Church

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

Inflation is a fact of life. Prices and wages rise. A look at some of the expenses recorded in archived church financial statements helps to illustrate how much prices have been inflated over the last 150 years. It also gives an indication of what types of expenses the First Universalist Society incurred during that period. Here are some of those items and their cost circa 1870.

  • Gas bill for the month of March: $4.60
  • Weekly salary for the organ pump boy: $1.00
  • Two loads of coal: $8.50
  • Clock repair: $1.00
  • Step ladder and keys for the church: $6.50
  • Glazing of church windows: $4.35
  • Choir director monthly salary: $16.67
  • Monthly water rent: $5.00
  • Pastor’s monthly salary: $125.00
  • Monthly advertising bill: $6.75
  • Tuning of the melodeon: $1.50
  • Brick repair of church: $11.52
  • Lamp post for the front of the church: $35.40
  • Repair of church furnace: $3.00
  • Wine and bread for the sacrament: $1.95
  • Annual income from renting property the church owned on 6th street: $1,250.00

It was a different world in the late 19th century.

Melodeon image via Wikipedia. Creative Commons License.