This past summer I attended the auctioning of the contents of the United Methodist Church in Ohiowa, Nebraska. I've been to several church and school auctions and they are truly uncomfortable events; it's these places of worship and education that often form the center of a community. An odd mixture of sadness, fond memories, and questioning is easily sensed.
Methodist Circuit Riders began visiting the Ohiowa community as early as 1871. Later, the minister from nearby Chelsea was charged with providing services for the growing Ohiowa congregation. At this time, services were being held in the schoolhouse and various locations around town.
In 1888, Rev. C.S. Kathan was appointed to serve the Ohiowa area and oversaw the building a permanent church that same year. In 1910, excavations were made for a basement. The church was move onto this foundation and an addition was built on the east side for the choir and an alcove on the west for the pulpit.
Various other renovations later took place, including the addition of large folding doors to the east, a gas furnace, a remodeled basement, and new altar furniture.
The church interior was quite simple, but cozy. The pressed tin ceiling and graceful curved pews were the main embellishments of the interior.
The last service in the church was held on June 7, 2009. The church was also officially deconsecrated at this time. Two article on the church and its closing are available here and here.
An ornate, etched transept window indicated that it was donated by local Civil War Veterans, the members of the G.A.R.
"The time has come for this congregation of Christ's holy Church, under God's leadership, to disband and take leave of this building. It has been consecrated for the ministry of God's Holy Word and Sacraments. It has provided refuge and comfort for God's people. It has served well our holy faith. It is fitting, therefore, that we should take our leave of one another and of this consecrated house, lifting up our hearts in thanksgiving for this common store of memories."
-- Declaration of Purpose from the Deconsecration Ceremony