Thursday, March 14, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Calvary Mennonite Church

In the 1930's Calvary Mennonite Church in Greensburg, Kansas, was meeting in a small basement structure that they did not have the resources to complete. But the growing congregation needed more room. So in 1937 when the opportunity came up to purchase the old North Grade School building, they decided it was the right move and acquired the building.

North Grade School

They decided to remove the second story. They used jacks to hold up the roof while they tore out the story, but when the jacks were lowered there was still a ways to go to get the large roof lowered in one piece.  I was told that a man named Folsom Wheeler, who was known as an inventive genius, came up with a way to get the old roof down onto the first floor when he had a dream about it. They placed large ice blocks between the roof and first floor, removed the jacks and waited as the ice melted and slowly lowered the roof onto the first floor.
remodeling in process

I wish someone had taken a picture of that!

This church is the church I remember as a small child. I remember my Aunt Judi's wedding here, sitting on those big front steps, church dinners in the basement, watching the ladies quilt.  I remember my parents let my siblings and I play quietly beside them during Wednesday night prayer meetings. I also remember that if we weren't good in church we were carried out of the building and disciplined. We learned how to sit still at an early age.
The church in 1953

In 1974 the Calvary Mennonite Church changed it's name to the Greensburg Mennonite Church and in 1978 a new church was built next to this one. In 1981 the old school/church building was torn down.
Greensburg Mennonite Church in 1995

On May 4, 2007 an F5 tornado came through Greensburg destroying everything, including every church in town.
Greensburg Mennonite Church site, summer 2007

But in the years since, every church has rebuilt including Greensburg Mennonite. You can see the new church by looking them up on their Facebook page.

"The Greensburg Mennonite Church History" compiled from "Church History" a term paper by Wallace Jantz and past records of the church.

Personal notes and photos of Kenneth Schmidt.

2007 photo copyright RMartin

*If link does not work, find Folsom Wheeler at: Find A Grave Memorial # 19676248

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