Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Lacona United Methodist Church

    Lacona United Methodist Church, 215 E. South St., Lacona, IA 50139, phone (515) 534-4331, church dedicated in 1890, rebuilt in 1934.

    History Of The Lacona Methodist Church, copied from History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151.

    The Methodist Church of Lacona was organized April 13, 1884, by a Methodist preacher named M. D. CASTLE. The original members were Robert B. BURNETT, Mr. and Mrs. Levi FISHER, Mr. and Mrs. Ed BALDWIN, Mr. and Mrs. S. D. KIRKHART, Mr. and Mrs. Pete STEAMAN, Mary E. WILLIAMS and Mary PURSELL; probationers, Joseph PURSELL, Emily HAYS, Cora GIBBONS and Phay BARTRAM. Of the first official board Robert B. BURNETT was class leader, Levi FISHER steward and Levi FISHER, R. B. BURNETT, S. D. KIRKHART and P. P. STEAMAN trustees.

    The church was organized following a meeting held by the Rev. M. D. CASTLE in the two-story schoolhouse which was on the ground where the park is now. The first man appointed pastor of the church was the Rev. Samuel MATHENEY. The schoolhouse was used for services for some time. Later the meetings were held in a hall known as Myers and McKinley hall, this during the year 1885. The remark perhaps most often heard in church circles was: "Lacona needs a Methodist church." On January 17, 1887, the lots where the church now stands were deeded by Lewis SOMNAR to the Methodist church for $400. One hundred dollars of this was paid by the first Methodist Aid society, whose president was Mrs. Mary FISHER. Mrs. Luin STANLEY, the oldest member of the present church, says, "I believe Mrs. FISHER was the first to say to me, 'Lacona needs a Methodist church.' I believe the aid society was organized before the church was and this society was raising money to build a Methodist church, the first I remember anyone speak of doing so."

    The work was begun and finally completed in 1889. This church was dedicated on May 25, 1890, by the Rev. Frank EVANS. The Rev. A. E. SLOTHOWER was pastor at this time. "I believe some of the most helpful work toward the upbuilding of the church at the time was the untiring work of the Sunday school board with the pastor's assistance, and the splendid work of the church choir which was sometimes spoken of as the 'war department' of the church," says Mrs. STANLEY.

    The first fire to damage the church was on June 21, 1902; the second in April or May, 1925. The last was June 16, 1933; this fire destroyed both the Methodist church and the Christian. Both were replaced. The present Methodist church building was begun in September, 1933, and completed in 1934. Forest KELLOGG was the minister at the time of the fire that destroyed the church and O. P. ORCUTT was minister when it was dedicated.

    The following young men who were members afterward entered the ministry: Mark CAMPBELL, Arlo HYDE, Reed KESSLER, Chas. QUANTE, William BLISS and Clair SHUPE.

    The major part of this was taken from the history of the Methodist church written by Mrs. Ada L. BURNETT STANLEY and read by her at the 50th anniversary of the church.

    “Lacona Church Marks 101 Anniversary,” article found at the Warren County Historical Society Library [no date nor name of paper, date guessed to be 1990)

    The Lacona United Methodist Church will be observing their 101st anniversary on Sept. 15 and invite all friends of the church to attend. The festivities will begin with a basket dinner at 12:30 p.m. followed by a service of celebration and rededication beginning at 2 p.m.. There will also be a time of fellowship following the service. Many former pastors and families have been invited and will share in the celebration.

    The vision of the church began when a wagonload of ladies from Lacona drove out to the BURNETT home northwest of Lacona to work on a quilt. The sale of the quilt raised $1.50 and was used toward the beginning of the church. On April 13, 1884, the Rev. M. D. CASTLE came to Lacona and organized a church. The first meetings were held in various buildings in Lacona. On Jan 17, 1887, the present lot was purchased for $400.00 ad a wood-framed church was built and completed in August of 1889.

    On June 21, 1902, the first of three fires broke out. This one caused considerable damage to the west end of the structure, but was repaired. A second, less serious fire, occurred in the spring of 1925. But the fire that broke out June 16, 1933, was disastrous, destroying the Methodist Church, the Christian Church, the Town Hall, a house and a barn. Construction of the present brick structure started Sept 12, 1933, and was dedicated June 28, 1934. With a little remodeling through the years, with the work and dedication of many families and pastors, the church continues to be a part of the Lacona Community.

    “Lacona Methodist Church, Service of Mortgage Burning, Sunday, April 4, 1943,” bulletin at the Warren County Historical Society Library