You’ve heard the phrase “the devil is in the details”? It’s especially true about writing fiction. In my current story, the hero is renovating a church built in 1865. Now, I spend my fair share of time in church, but most of the churches I’ve attended were built in the late 20th century. The only point of reference I had was the church/school house in Little House On The Prairie, and I needed something a little bigger for my story.
Last week, I was mapping our route to Kansas City and noticed a historical site not far from the freeway we needed to take. It took all of five minutes of poking around their website to learn that they have a church that was built in 1871. Detour!
It’s not exactly what I was thinking of, but it’s close, and it provided the perspective I needed. I didn’t realize when I took this picture that the tree on the right blocks the view of the wing on that side, but it works out great because what is shown is the original church. It was bought in the ’60s and converted to a theater.
Here’s a shot of the side to provide a little perspective on how small the place really was. I didn’t get the right wing, but you can see where the roof line attaches. Total length was probably 100′ and while that’s too small for my purposes, there’s nothing that says they couldn’t have added on in the forty years between the original dedication and when my story starts.
This is the inside. It has a lovely barrel-vaulted ceiling that is wonderful for acoustics. The half-wall is where the pulpit area started. When it was converted, they took the pulpit area and made it part of the stage, making the old sanctuary a light-filled, spacious gathering area for the people who come to see the plays. Unfortunately I caught them a few hours before they opened their first play of the season, so I dashed in, took a few pictures and left. It would have been great if I’d been able to see the foundation and attic space, but that would have put us even later at our destination so it’s probably best that I couldn’t!
Arrow Rock is a tiny village not far from the Missouri River. It’s 15 miles north of I-70, so it’s not something that will take a traveler too far out of the way. You can check it out here.