Building new church took faith, hard work — and good weather

It took about two years for the present Immanuel Lutheran Church building to become reality following conception.

At the January 1913 meeting of the church, the congregation passed a resolution that an attempt would be made to obtain sufficient pledges to build the new structure. The Rev. Ernest Moehl was given the task of soliciting pledges.

Moehl said because of severe cold and bad roads that year, he planned to postpone the job until spring. But he was told at the beginning of Lent that three individuals would pledge $1,000 apiece if another seven would do the same thing.

By that June, the pastor was able to announce $41,120 had been raised, and another $1,000 pledged.

Moehl had some concerns in the summer, though.

“The early summer of 1913 was exceedingly dry, causing some concern about the pledges,” Moehl said in his report for the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the church. “Oats were scarcely 6 inches high. Corn had been planted but lay in the ground without sprouting. Clods as thick as a man’s head covered the fields. No disk could pulverize them.

“Horses had to be shod on all four hooves not to go lame on the hard ground.”

Moehl, however, said he never heard “one unfriendly remark as I went about my task of collecting money that had been pledged,” despite the prospects of a poor crop. He said the women of the church spurred on the men when they became pessimistic.

“The day before the congregational meeting in June there was a funeral,” Moehl said, “and the rains came. Never did I drive through the mud as willingly as I did on this occasion. In no time at all the crop prospects changed.”

The money was raised, and the construction began.

To allow the new church to be built on the same location, the old church was moved to the east by a capstan, which was powered by a team or horses.

All the building material was shipped to Gifford and Thomasboro by rail and had to be hauled with wagons. A wagon load amounted to about 1 1/2 ton.

Each member was assigned to haul 10 loads. The basement was dug out by horses and scrapers, and concrete was poured in the fall of 1913. The gravel and concrete were loaded and unloaded using scoops and shovels and then mixed on the ground. When every hauler had brought his 10 loads, all were assigned another 10 loads.

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