Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
125 E. State Street, Mason City
Mason Township, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Mason City Centennial Issue
Monday, June 01, 1953, Section 7, Page 8

Baptists Organize

The Baptist Church was organized on Nov. 17, 1866, with 10 members, A. Dunham and wife, John Keller and wife, Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Miller, Harriet Tuttle, Nella Tuttle, Mr. Rennills and wife.

The First Baptist congregation, which was organized in 1865 and held its first meetings in hired halls, voted on Aug. 23, 1874, to build a church on the present [1953] site at State and Pennsylvania. The building committee was made up of A. B. Tuttle, John D. Glass, E. J. Walling and J. G. Brown.

Destroyed by Fire

On March, 1876, the committee contracted with Farrell, White and Lien to build the foundation for $580 with W. W. Blood to build and furnish the structure for $4,050. On Nov. 19, 1876, the church was dedicated.

On Feb. 8, 1895, this church was destroyed by fire. On the following August the cornerstone of the present [1953] building was laid and on May 10, 1896, the dedication took place.

 

 [Section 8, Pages 13 & 14] Installation of a new lighting system and redecoration of the First Baptist Church was completed this spring. The picture was taken in the newly finished interior. The church was built after an old church structure on the same site was destroyed by fire in 1895. One of the first Congregations to be organized in Mason City, the First Baptist Church came into being in the pioneer days of 1866. A number of leading pioneers were members of this church.

 

 

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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Iowa
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
by Mary Pieper, Globe-Gazette

MASON CITY The bell at the First Baptist Church hasn't rung in a while.

The Rev. Ron STEIN, pastor of the historic Mason City church, hopes it will ring again this spring once the bell tower is repaired.

The interior of the bell tower of the 1897 church is deteriorating due to age.

The damage went undetected because people don't go up into the bell tower much, according to STEIN.

The deterioration was discovered during a tuckpointing project already under way at the church.

Church member Troy LEVENHAGEN, who has formed a committee to save the bell tower, said it is about to collapse.

"It could come down right now," he said. "It could come down in seven months." The committee has already received some donations toward the project, and will do fundraisers such as chili suppers for the rest, according to LEVENHAGEN.

Saving the tower is important because "that's our home there," LEVENHAGEN said.

At first the estimate to save the tower was $500,000, STEIN said.

However, the cost "is not as bad as we were first led to believe," he said.

Church officials now estimate it will cost around $10,000 to repair the inside of the bell tower. The overall cost for the current tuckpointing project on the outside of the church will be $85,000-$100,000.

Church officials now estimate it will cost around $10,000 to repair the inside of the bell tower. The overall cost for the current tuckpointing project on the outside of the church will be $85,000-$100,000.

The bell tower is just one of the distinctive features of the English gothic-style church, which was built after the frame building that originally housed the First Baptist congregation was destroyed in a 1895 fire.

The windows of the brick church including a huge, arched stained-glass window on the north wall of the sanctuary were imported from Europe.

The organ has been rebuilt several times over the years, but parts of it date back to 1878 as some pieces of it were saved from the 1895 fire. It is believed to be one of the oldest working pipe organs in Iowa.

The church interior still has its original oak woodwork.

The need to repair the bell tower will help First Baptist gain strength as a congregation, according to STEIN.

"Difficulties are put in our way to make us stronger," he said.

   

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011; updated November of 2013; updated December of 2014

 

 

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