One Block South of the Park

I have many things to be grateful for in my life.  One of them is the religious tradition that I was raised in. I’ve lived in many places in my life and – besides my biological family – the one constant was always my church family.  No matter where I was, this community of faith was there for me.

Like all families, they sometimes have their grumpy old men (and women).  Often times there were disagreements and bickering, but I always felt loved by the various congregations I attended throughout my life.

I’m a bit sappy and sentimental about this because my mother’s church just celebrated it’s 100th birthday.

The small town community of Mapleton,Ks raise $3,000 in 1917 to build the sanctuary and outfit it.  Below are pictures from those early days.

Pictures taken in 1916 and 1917 of the church under construction and in use in Mapleton, Kansas

As a teenager we lived about an hour’s drive from grandma’s house.  I remember many an early wake up call (probably about 4 AM) in which we would get up, get dressed and drive an hour to this little church for Easter sunrise services.  These were no wimpy 9 AM Easter services – they were always at SUNRISE!

Visiting grandma always meant going to church on Sunday (except for Memorial day weekend – which is a whole other story).  No excuses.  My dad wasn’t a member of mom’s church, but when grandma issued the ultimatum “No, church, no dinner”, he willingly complied.  He liked grandma’s cooking.

I wasn’t able to attend the centennial celebration, but my sister did.  I found out the following fun facts:

  • The original USPS street address of the building was “One Block South of the Park, Mapleton, KS”. Welcome to small town America.
  • There was an addition added to the building later on.  It was a one room schoolhouse that was moved in place from 4 miles away.  Several people who attended that school were present at the dedication service.
  • When my mom was a teenager, there was an old man in the congregation who prayed long, long prayers.  They used to time his prayers by the old clock on the wall.  The clock’s face was damaged and a clock maker valued it at $800 “as is” – but if he fixed it up it would only be worth $400. The current member’s decided to fix the clock so it could keep on ticking for another 100 years.
  • One of the stories told was about my grandfather (definitely a grumpy old man).  He had some kind of neurological condition in which he involuntarily shook his head constantly.  When a visiting minister spoke one Sunday, he was asked what he thought about the service.  His reply was “I thought everything was OK, but there was this man in the back who shock his head disagreeing with everything I said!”

For the dedication service, my mom made this lovely cross stitch  Christmas tree skirt.

Growing up, there was an old pump organ sitting in the schoolhouse addition.  I didn’t know if it worked because I had never heard it played. Musical accompaniment was always on the piano. For the 100th anniversary members found a 1917 hymnal, and they fired up the organ.  My sister recorded the video.


Hope you enjoy this little slice of small town secular history!

Helping you to retire happily ever after!

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