Friday, November 19, 2004

The Old Mays Prairie Church

She was already in ruins when I first saw her.

Mays Prairie Church

The old Mays Prairie Church stood atop a hill far out into the countryside. Mays Prairie Road is a gravel road which winds through a remote rural area of our county. I sometimes will drive this road as a shortcut down to Lansing. Though other than that, it's not a route we locals drive that much. Like I say, remote.

When I would drive Mays Prairie Road, I often would slow down and stop when I came to that hill, and I'd sit there and look at the old stone church. The roof sagged. The steeple canted at a crazy angle. The back wall, where the altar once stood, was fallen in. Window and door were empty, wide open to the wind. And I would try to see inside, to get a glimpse of the empty deserted interior.

The Mays Prairie Church closed long ago, back in the 1930s. That's what I've heard from folks round here, and read in an old Allamakee County Atlas. When they ran the power lines through, they ran them across the hilltop right by the church. I took that picture a couple of years ago. Since then, every time I drove by, it seemed the church looked a little more ramshackle than before. The steeple leaning over farther. Part of the wall on the far side collapsed.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I was driving back from down below Lansing, and I decided to come back by way of Mays Prairie. I rounded the curve on the gravel road: something about that hill up ahead didn't look right. I got closer. I drove real slow. I stopped.

The old Mays Prairie Church is gone. Nothing but a loose pile of stones now stands atop the hill, alongside the power lines. Evidently it's been torn down, and recently. I asked some of my parishioners; they hadn't heard anything about it.

I'm gonna miss that old stone church. I'm gonna miss her.



Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Update: I asked a few more of my parishioners at Mt. Hope this morning, and they said the old Mays Prairie Church was torn down within the last six weeks or so, apparently over a weekend. Still no idea who, how, or why, though.

Sunday, November 21, 2004 1:34:00 PM  

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