Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
"It is often brought to our attention that it is the people of the congregation who are really 'the church,' and the building is merely a convenient place to gather and worship as a group," quoted from Phyllis Greely Hoeft's information that was compiled on the history of the Kimball Church of Christ. From 1870 to present, the Kimball Church of Christ has met in various places. It was not always a single building in itself, but it was the group of people - who from the start carried with them their mission and faith - that made the congregation. The first congregation and "church" was founded in 1870 by B.U. Watkins. The congregation met in a Maine Prairie school building, later on meeting in the upstairs of a nearby store. "The church" continued to grow after Watkins left. Abraham Shoemaker and George Green were elders before the first paid minister arrived in 1889: W.W. Pew. Pew's salary was $225 a year. Sixteen years before a set minister was in place, the women of the church formed a group of their own. There were various names for their various groups, but their main purpose involved sewing, raising money for the church, and serving food during funerals and other church events. With a few more location changes, finally it was decided Nov. 29, 1889, to adopt the "Certificate of Incorporation". Construction began Feb. 25, 1890, for the church to be built along the west side of Carnelian Lake, costing $1,325. After 1893, the church was served by several other ministers. It wasn't until 1915, under "Brother" Fifield, and after a second vote (the first one was deemed illegal) that decided to move the church to Kimball. The move was big, but finally the church made the trip to Kimball. In 1929, the church was replaced, but still used most of the old foundation. Many changes happened to the church after the turn of the
century, including introduction of youth groups and organizations. The congregation's final move was July 12, 1981, where a new building was built on the west end of Kimball. The stained glass windows were removed and incorporated into the design of the new building. The old building on "church corners" was decommissioned, retired as a church building. Around 1992, it was converted to a gym for about three years. It was called "The Body Building."
The McMillan family, Trish and Mac, Chris and Heather, moved in around 1995. Three years of work later, the building was truly a home. The current owner, Teresa Reddemann and family, moved into the building in 2003. The church had to come down. The ceiling was caving in, there were mold problems, and it was time to build something new. One interesting discovery during demolition was a mural of Noah's Ark behind one of the basement walls, a surprise to Reddemann. On Sept. 10, 2008, the old building was torn down. Reddemann said they are building a new house on the lot. She added that living in the former church wasn't different, but more like a home. ********** "Something old, something new" ... A very visible part of history, something old (the former and historic Kimball Church of Christ) has vanished, and something new (a brand new home) is rising on that Hazel Avenue and Magnus Johnson Street corner of Kimball. Hundreds of people's memories didn't vanish, however, as the rich history of one of the famous churches on "church corners" will never be forgotten. ********** Thank you for joining us for special Stockade/Forts program Sept. 23. On Oct. 28 our next program will feature Rep. Dean Urdahl and his remarkable 1862 history for the first time in Kimball. Start planning now to attend. Watch for details. ********** You are invited for family history research, general society information questions, stories and photos for this column and/or the permanent history collections, donations for the city hall restoration project - an excellent memorial suggestion - and new or renewed memberships. Contact The Kimball Area Historical Society at P.O. Box 100, Kimball MN 55353; or phone (320) 398-5743, (320) 398-5250, or toll-free (800) 252-2521, if you're out of the Kimball area. We look forward to hearing from you and greeting you at our next special historical event. ********** "Perspective is everything."