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I’ll pick up where I left off last week. Fry Chapel was dedicated in the fall of 1887 and a report of the finances was made public. Total cost of the building, including furniture and fixtures, was $1,100. There was still $300 of debt to be dealt with but that money was raised during the dedication. The church was filled to capacity for the dedication and all enjoyed the great day.
I don’t have any information about Fry Chapel through the years but we can look at the circumstances and surroundings of that era. The Watterson Road (that’s what this road was called before it was called the Sale Barn Road beginning in 1939) was the first county road to get graveled in 1935. This allowed folks south of Mount Ayr to travel to the county seat for church (where there was running water and electricity), shopping, and social events.
Another thing that probably contributed to a decline in church attendance was competition from neighboring churches. Hickory Grove Advent Christian Church was built in 1888 southwest of Fry Chapel. Oakland Baptist Church was built in Poe Township, northeast of Fry Chapel, in 1896. In the 1920s, Free Methodist services were being held in a rural schoolhouse near Caledonia and the Pleasant Hill church was established in southern Middle Fork Township.
My information says a public auction was held at Fry Chapel on August 1, 1952 and the church building was physically moved to Kellerton on September 23, 1952. After extensive remodeling, the dedication for the Kellerton Assembly of God Church took place on November 6, 1953. The September 16, 1954 edition of the Mount Ayr Record-News lists D. J. Henderson as pastor of the Kellerton Assembly of God Church. Today, Barton Shields is the pastor and the name of the church is Family Worship Center.
An addition was built onto the church in 1979-80. I was fortunate to take this week’s photo in November 2004 because the church was soon remodeled and has a slightly different look with a change in window configuration.
Although Fry Chapel is no longer at its original location, Laurance and Margaret Bishop established a park on the site many years ago and it stands as a memorial to the church Margaret grew up in. The park is located at the intersection of P-46 and J-55, the corner where one turns east to go to Lamoni. Thanks, again, to Margaret for last week’s photo and information.