I see many old churches, especially in a town where the population has declined, for sale or abandoned by their congregation. It is nice to see one repurposed and saved from the wrecking ball like this church that now serves as the Elk Rapids History Museum. The historical marker in front of it reads:
In the late 1850s traveling pastors began to conduct Methodist services in Elk Rapids and nearby communities. First Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the early 1870s. Services were held in a former school and then a former courthouse. The Rev. John W. Hart, who became pastor in 1899, decided the church needed a permanent building. In 1901 the congregation purchased architectural plans created by Benjamin D. Price and his son Max C. Price, Philadelphia architects who contracted with the Methodist Episcopal Board of Church Extensions to design a variety of plans for small, rural churches. These plans were made available to congregations nationwide through mail order catalogues. The church purchased the land for its new building in August 1901
Construction on this auditorium-type church began on October 29, 1901, with a cornerstone-laying service. Locally made yellow brick forms the walls. The Kinsella Glass Company of Chicago produced eight of the 13 Gothic stained-glass windows, which also served as memorials to early church members. The total cost of the building and lot was $8,250. On August 10, 1902, the Reverend William Dawe of Detroit dedicated the church building. In 1971 the church was renamed First United Methodist Church, a name it bored until it closed in 2011. The building was then donated to the Elk Rapids Area Historical Society, which converted it into its headquarters and a history museum. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.
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