Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Indianola Center Chapel United Methodist Church

    Indianola Center Chapel United Methodist Church, 8126 Highway 92, Indianola, IA 50125, (515) 961-5054, first built in 1893.


    History Of Center Chapel Church, written by Mrs. Foster SARCHETT (copied from the History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151

    Center Chapel church, located four and one-half miles west of Indianola, was first built in 1893 by the late Elias PROUDFOOT on land owned by Mrs. Eva McINTIRE. The church was dedicated the last Sunday in August by the Rev. L. B. WICKERSHAM of Des Moines, who later became vice-president of Simpson college. The Rev. H. H. PRESTON was the first pastor of the church after its completion. Mrs. Al MORRIS was the first Sunday school superintendent. It was dedicated a Methodist church, although many of the contributing laymen were of other denominations. Among those who assisted with the construction were J. BITTING, whose wife assisted by cooking for some of the hired help, James HOUGHTALING, Clark MORTON, Joe HICKMAN, T. H. SARCHETT, Line. BALES, Levi MYERS, Mr. McINTIRE, Sam McCLURE, T. G. McCOY, George D. KARR, Bethlehem MILLS, Sylvester MASON, Fred CONWAY, T. M. HOBSON, H. C. DAVIDSON, C. F. MORMON and others.

    From the turn of the century until the church was destroyed by fire in 1941, many faithful folks crossed its threshold and gave of their time and money to maintain a religious influence within their neighborhood. Among them were Amos and Clint COX, Will McCLURE, Charles CONWAY, Frank HAMMON, Al FLOYD, Will TUCKER, J. H. JACKSON, George SHERWOOD, Ben SAWDEN, J. SLOAN, J. THOMAS, Mr. HARGIS, Disney SIMONS, the McCROBYS, HALTERMANS, PEARSONS, H. BALMER, BRUBAKERS, BLAINS, SUPERS, SHUPERTS, O. H. PEASLEY, V. CANINE, W. BURNS, J. ALEXANDER, H. SIMMERMAN, P. WILLIAMS, C. HAMMON, B. JUDKINS and W. RICHARDS.

    On September 2, 1941, the church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Services were held in the Whitman schoolhouse while planning and construction of a new church were underway. Building materials were high and becoming scarce because of World War II. The investigating committee found an unused church building one and one-half miles south and one mile west of Liberty Center [the old Otter Creek Christian Church, commonly known as the Christian Neck Church, built in 1915].

    This was purchased, torn down, and ninety per cent of the lumber in that church was used in the new structure. The pews and altar from the Christian Neck church was also moved to Center Chapel.

    The cornerstone was laid on November 23, 1941. Dr. Walter M. BRIGGS, pastor of the Grace Methodist church in Des Moines, delivered the address. The stone was lifted into place by Wilson BURNS, Carl HIRSCH and Foster SARCHETT, committeemen, and A. R. BROWN, who was in charge of the construction of the new building as well as the razing of the old church. Folks in the neighborhood who gave generously of their time to the rebuilding were Fred ROMBACK, Frank EWING, B. HARKNESS, Curt HAMMON, Floyd CUNNINGHAM, Lloyd CHANDLER, Earl HUKILL, P. SIMMERMAN, P. COZAD, Leslie JENNER, Van CANINE, Cyrus MORTON, D. DILTS and Ellis BONORDEN.

    On June 2, 1942 the new church was dedicated. Bishop J. Ralph McGEE as well as District Superintendent George LAWTON were present for the dedication services. Alice McINTIRE JONES, granddaughter of Mrs. Eva McINTIRE, took part in the service. Glen LAMB was pastor at the time.

    Center Chapel serves an area which surrounds the church for several miles and has a membership of approximately 120 members. It is a member of the Warren County Group Ministry. Pastors who have served besides H. C. PRESTON and Glen LAMB, aforementioned, are J. Indus FARLEY, Charles PROCTOR, Brother DETAR, W. W. WATSON, the Rev. Mr. VAN DYKE, the Rev. William Christie SMITH, the Rev. Mr. MANORE, V. W. HENDERSON. the Rev. A. H. ADAMS, L. L. WEIS, the Rev. Mr. LAIRD, B. B. KEISTER, Harry LAKE, C. J. STEPHENS, Ira ALLEN, Paul HANN, J. P. NEWELL, Oliver JENSEN, Chester COOPER, David STREYFFLER, Tom DOYLE, Roger CRABTREE, J. W. DARLINGTON, Ray HANKINS, O. G. ORCUTT, Fred PRUSSNER and Dr. M. A. GABLE.

    “Church Hit By a Lightning Bolt Burns to the Ground,” article at the Warren County Historical Society Library.

    Center Chapel, dedicated in 1893 is totally destroyed during a storm Wednesday morning.

    The Center Chapel church, located about five miles west of Indianola, was struck by a bolt of lightning and completely destroyed by a fire which followed, during the heavy rain early Wednesday morning which fell all over Warren County. The fire was discovered at about 4:30 o’clock by Joe ECKLEBERRY who drove his car to various homes to secure help. Little rain had fallen in that community at the time the fire had too big a start to be extinguished by the heavy rain which began falling a little later. In spite of the downpour, neighbors and members of the congregation gathered in the hope of saving the building, which was burned down to the foundation stones. The structure was insured for $1,500.00. It had just been redecorated, new curtains had been hung and new song books purchased. Other improvements had been made three years before.

    Dedicated the last Sunday in August 1893, the church was built by the late Elias PROUDFOOT. It was dedicated by the Rev. Dr. L. B. WICKERSHAM, Des Moines, who later became vice president of Simpson College. The Rev. H. H. PRESTON was the first pastor of the church after its completion.

    It was first built as a community church with a number of residents in the community contributing to its construction. Included were James HOUGHTALING, Clark MORTON, Joe HICKMAN, Dode SARCHETT, Linc BALES, Ed EWING, Levi MYERS, and Mr. McINTIRE. Later the church became Methodist.

    Indianola Center Chapel Methodist church records 1893-1942 are on microfilm at the State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, IA, film # War-56, (LDS film # 1034022)

    Directory of Center Chapel United Methodist Church, Highway 92 West, Indianola, Iowa 50215, booklet is at the Warren County Historical Society Library