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TALES from the FRONT PORCH

Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

ANOTHER AUGUST ROAD TRIP

Part II

August 29, 2009.

Arriving in Grand River, we stopped at St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Grand River, Iowa
photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

Rev. Edward J. HARKIN wrote in his 1956 A History of the Catholic Church, Decatur County, Iowa, "The new and present church, Saint Patrick's, was erected in 1929, by Father John O'CONNER, who was serving St. Mary's parish [the first Catholic Church in Grand River, which was Grand River's first school house built in 1879] on the east end of Grand River. . . .The church was built on land donated by James and Hannah DAUGHTON. The contractor was Frank Schmidt of Leon, Ia. . . .The dedication of St. Patrick's Church was held in November of 1929, by Bishop DRUMM."

Interior of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Grand River, Iowa
photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

Rev. HARKIN noted, "The altar for the new church was donated by the late Samuel and Bridget WALLACE, of Creston, Iowa, who were former members of the old St. Mary's Church, in Grand River."

Altar, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Grand River, Iowa
photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

United Methodist Church, Grand River, Iowa
photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

Grand River's original Methodist Episcopal Church belfry was struck by lightning in October of 1901. Although torrents of rain fell upon the structure, the fire gained momentum inside the attic where nesting birds had deposited a half ton of hay over the period of twenty years. The church was completely consumed by the fire.

Cornerstone, United Methodist Church, Grand River, Iowa
photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

A new Methodist Episcopal Church was erected in 1911, the present-day United Methodist Church. At one time, the church had a dome which was removed due to leakage.

NOTE: Beaconfield's Methodist Church, built in 1911, also had a dome and looks very similar to Grand River's church. It was destroyed by fire on November 19th of 1949. I wonder if Grand River and Beaconsfield used the same architects.

  
United Methodist Church, Grand River, Iowa
2009 photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

My grandmother, Pearle V. (BRAMON) FOLAND, was the Sunday School superintendent and church organist. At Christmas time, she would play carols in the church which was amplified through the outside speakers for the enjoyment of the townspeople. After her death in 1969, I was one of the church organists until 1972.

The church was locked so we weren't able to photograph the sanctuary. We noticed that several bricks had fallen from the southwest corner of the cornice and this area had been "fenced" off. It appears that repairs are imminent.

Young Cemetery, East of Grand River, Iowa
photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

From Grand River, we traveled east to the Young Cemetery. The Young Cemetery is located on top of a hill and overlooks the Grand River valley to the west of the cemetery. Try as I might, I can't seem to capture the view from this hilltop.

We proceeded on to Highway 2 and headed east to Elk Chapel and East Elk School.

Contribution by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

 

 


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