Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Penrose Church Memories

     If this keeps up, I won't have to print my story. I'll just use pieces of it here and then I'm done. Dwight asked about our memories of the Penrose Church. Here are just a few of mine.
     For many years, the church had been used as a voting place during election time and for Saturday night dances. Before we started school, Steve and I would spend voting day at the church with Mother, who was one of the voting judges. She probably heaved a sigh of relief when older siblings got home from school so she could send us back to the house.
     Either Steve or Judy discovered we could get inside through the outside coal chute so once in a while we would go adventuring. Other times we would ask Mother for the key and then we didn't feel like trespassers. The front steps provided an incredible place for “stair hopping” and stair jumping. We would compete with each other to see how many steps we could take at a time.
   Inside the church were hidden treasures. There were books, some of which eventually came to our house and became favorites. One of the best, for me, was Song of Years. There were a few chairs, two of which came to our house and were treasured possessions because they were just the right size for little people. The smallest one was mine to keep in my bedroom and was a favorite possession during those early years.
     One Saturday night the church was being heated for a dance and it caught fire. Watching from my bedroom window, it was scary to see the flames coming out through the roof. The Powell fire department was called and we were all excited about having a real fire engine come to Penrose. That put an end to the Saturday night dances in the church.
     There was an outhouse by the old church and every Halloween it seemed to get tipped over. Strange because who, besides kids in Penrose, even knew that outhouse was there?
     Dad paid $500.00 for the 5 acres of land and the church building on November 13, 1956. The receipt was signed for the Big Horn Stake by a Mr. Jolley. One of the conditions of the purchase was that the church and foundation were to be cleared off “in reasonable time”.
     When the dismantling of the church began, Dad discovered the walls on the north side were full of honey from bees that had been there for a long time. The honeycomb was wonderful and we ate “church house honey” for years. When Mother and Dad moved to Olympia, they took the honey with them and I think someone mentioned there was still “church house honey” after Mother died, which would have been 1981.
     The ceiling of the old church was made of large embossed tin tiles. In the mid 1950’s no one thought much about them but today they would probably be worth a lot of money. Not knowing what else to do with the tiles, Steve says they were eventually used on a shed for the dairy cows. That was probably the fanciest roof ever for a bunch of cows. The wood flooring was rescued and used in the room that was built on to the Penrose house. Everything that could possibly be used again was carefully saved, including a bucket of nails. Steve tells the story about the roof trusses. I don't remember that part exactly, but I do remember how grateful Dad was to have escaped being seriously hurt when the trusses fell.


Elizabeth said...

One funny part about the night the church house almost burned from a chimney fire - it was discovered, after the fire trucks came and put out the fire, that the building wasn't in the fire district. The area was eventually included, and then the road names changed with routes and numbers. Also, a couple of quarts of honey came my way in Riverton. They lasted a long time. What a harvest. There is nothing better than alfalfa honey! Thanks, Ann, this is more knowledge than I ever had about the purchase, etc.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, and I do have one of the little chairs from the church - Mother painted it a cobalt blue, and it sits in my living room holding a stuffed bear, but ready to enchant most children who come into that room.

Steve Blood said...

It's true dad and I nailed the tins down on the roof of the loafing shed and painted it silver, the week after we did it a wind storm came and blew the entire roof off, it landed across the fence next to the road by Emmy's.

Judy said...

It was Steve who started entering the church through the coal chute. He and Ann were more inventive than I. Does anyone know what happened to the stove that was located in the middle of the room?