This building established its beginnings as St. John the Baptist Church. In 1862, just before the Civil War, a group of 15 families began meeting at the home of Henry Weiss (across the street at the current day location of the House of White). The new building site was finally decided on and construction of the brick structure, including firing of the brick, was handled in great part by the church members. The cornerstone was laid on Friday after the third Sunday in September 1865. The new church was dedicated in July of 1867. When completed, St. John Church measured 45x20 feet and provided seating for 125 worshippers. The parish at that time numbered around thirty families. In 1893, the then considerable sum of $150 was willed to the church for use in erecting a sacristy. Using these monies, along with voluntary contributions of the congregation, the church was enlarged on the north end by a total of thirty-two feet. This provided a beautiful arched sanctuary and sacristy. It remained at this location until April 1959.
In 1964, Kurt and Marilyn Kluger purchased the property to open the Newburgh Country Store. The original choir loft and steps remained intact, and many of the original stained glass windows were donated or sold to be used in area homes and businesses. From candy to sodas and posters to a wide variety of gift items, the country store became a pillar in our community. Memories were made from the old checker board to the cracker barrel and the array of goodies as stories were written in the lives of individuals over the years. The Newburgh Country Store was also well known for its annual Herb Festival and Plant Sale. The original garden mart begin in the Newburgh Country Store parking lot in April 1982 as the brainchild of the Klugers. The event offered thousands of herbs, perennials and annuals to the public during the spring months. In 2013 the Newburgh Country Store closed its doors for business.
The Refinery (formerly known as Re:Creation Designs Studio) purchased the old country store building in May 2015 and immediately began renovations. The goal was to highlight and celebrate the feel and history of the building, both as the church and the country store, while also cleaning up and breathing new life and inspiration into the historic treasure. The building underwent 5 months of extensive renovation. In October 2015, doors were open for business and the community welcomed in once again. It has been purposely designed to be a source of inspiration and a place of enjoyment for the community.
We began as a mother/daughter duo each doing things we love. Our business started unintentionally around a breakfast table with bed heads, big ideas, crazy dreams and growing excitement. We began selling paint out of a small booth inside a shop in downtown Newburgh in June of 2014. Classes began and preparations were being made to operate out of a space of our own. Renovations of an old dentist office space took place and on November 1, 2014 we opened up as Re:Creation Designs Studio on 4333 State Route 261. We were thrilled at the response and continued learning, creating, teaching, and sharing with you all. In the spring of 2015 we took note as a few customers, both new and old, expressed that the old Newburgh Country Store building could be a perfect fit for our things. We figured we should at least pay some attention and check things out. After much excitement, a lot of prayer, and what we call a miracle, we purchased the iconic 224 W. Jennings St. in May of 2015. 5 months later, after a lot of dreaming, planning and renovation, we moved in and opened up our doors for business. Special detail was made to capture and keep the overall character of the old building as well as a few of the traditions of the old Newburgh Country Store, from the old candy jars to the vintage sodas. We soon changed our name over to The Refinery. It has been an adventure as our business continues to grow and change. In May 2017, we started scooping Bliss Artisan Ice Cream here at The Refinery. Our hope is that this space is much more than just somewhere to shop. We hope that this place is truly an experience. A place of refuge and inspiration in our community, that allows you to get lost for awhile.