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Black Forest church applying for historical status

Black Forest Community Church (United Church of Christ), on the corner of Black Forest Road and Shoup Road in Black Forest is submitting an application for their old log church building to be part of the National Register of Historic Places.The Rev. Diane Martin, who has been pastor of Black Forest Community Church for 15 months, said their log church building is one of the four original log buildings at that intersection in Black Forest. ìOthers are the community center and the log school,î Martin said. ìIt puts us on par with those other buildings and becomes a bit of an outdoor museum.îBev Turner, church historian, said the school house is already on the registry.Martin said if the church is approved for the registry, it could be more of a local attraction, with ìspecial privileges as far as maintenance.î Becky Bain, chairman of the trustees, said they applied according to the federal and state registry guidelines.The historic places program is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service. A property must meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation, which includes the propertyís age, integrity and significance, according to The website further defines the criteria. The property should be at least 50 years old and look much the way it did in the past. ìIs the property associated with events, activities, or developments that were important in the past?î (including the people involved). Architectural history, landscape history or engineering achievements are all considered. ìDoes it have the potential to yield information through archeological investigation about our past?î (ìWe are working on compiling the information to give to the registry,î Turner said. ìOne of our problems is that it’s always good to submit photos of the early construction of the building. That fire (Black Forest Fire) went through the heart of the forest not only figuratively but literally. So most of these photos are gone. It destroys so much more than what we can imagine.îìYears ago, when we still had video tapes, I did a video of interviews with the old timers in the community, who remember the church being built and remember a lot of info about the church.îBain said that someone else had started an application to the registry about 25 years ago and did not follow through. The registry was able to provide them with the documentation from the earlier application.ìOur church is very much into preserving the history and honoring the community,î Martin said. ìThis church was the first in Black Forest, and so when other denominations wanted to start churches in Black Forest, this church hosted a lot of them and allowed them meeting space.î Turner said Christian Scientists, Mormons, Lutherans and Catholics all used the building while awaiting completion of their own buildings. ìOur denomination has always held an open door policy,î Turner said. ìThe church has always taken seriously its responsibilities to the community of which it is a part. Deputies met in the building, well baby clinics, and more groups met at various times.îTurner said the four original structures ó the store, community center, school and church ó are all log buildings constructed by the same group of people. The school was the first, constructed in 1924. In 1929, the store and the community center were built. The church building construction started in 1937, and was completed in 1942. ìLand was given by Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Collins and Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Morrell,î Turner said. ìThere were no contractors, it was manual labor by the people who lived here. Basements were dug out with horse and scoop Ö logs were donated from local properties.îThe building was used for worship for several years, but is used now to house the pastor’s office, the Christian education director’s office, the secretary, a conference room and a downstairs meeting room for church youth, Turner said. ìWe always need to maintain it,î she said. ìThe logs need to be oiled Ö the chinking in between needs to be redone every now and then. We had a few bats in the belfry we needed to get rid of.îMartin said they open the buildings for tours during the Black Forest Festival. In the past, they didnít open the log building but she said they plan to open it this year.They are also looking for old photographs of the building or information, personal or otherwise, about it, Turner said. ìPlease share,î she said. Turner can be contacted at 719-344-9571.

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