Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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1405 S. Pennsylvania Avenue, 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

Free Methodists Here

Another Methodist church had early beginnings in Mason City. In 1870 the Rev. Thomas and the Rev. Calvin La Due organized the Free Methodist society.

The first services were held in private homes and later in the Lloyd and Tuttle hall (on the site of Montgomery Ward [1953]) and the courthouse. It 1887 a church was built at 146 Sixth S. W., which was occupied until the congregation could take over the downtown stone church from the First Methodists [in 1952].

NOTE: Rev. Calvin LaDue, a Congregational minister, came from Polk County, Iowa, with his wife "Marilda" (Sanford) LaDue and family in 1870. They established their homes in what became to be known as LaDue Grove, approximately 2 1/2 miles northwest of what would become Fertile, Iowa. Rev. LaDue was born in 1841 at Canada, and died September 30, 1891. Olive "Marilda" (Sanford) LaDue was born in New York on September 22, 1840, and died on November 15, 1925. They were interred at Concordia Cemetery, Fertile, Iowa.

In 2014, the Iowa Society of the Friends of Jesus occupy the church building at 146 Sixth S. W.





[Section 8, Pages 11 & 15]

~ ~ ~ ~

The church had deteriorated quite badly, and in the fall of 1962 the congregation decided to dispose of the old stone church and to build a new building in a growing residential area of the city. This required a bold step of faith, since the congregation was small and finances were limited. About $18,999 indebtedness still remained on the old property. There were no immediate prospects to sell the old church, yet the building committee began to search for a suitable building site. God anwered the prayers of the people, and soon a plot of ground next to a city park became available. About the same time, a prospective buyer made a reasonable offer to buy the old downtown property. Denominational headquarters responded with the promise of a $4,000 "Incentive Grant" to get the building project underway.

Some old records indicate that over a century ago, in 1870, a Free Methodist Society was organized in Mason City, Iowa. However, the Free Methodist church of Mason City, Iowa was originally incorporated on November 9, 1887. On the 21st of December 1887, a lot was purchased on Miller Street (later renamed Sixth, Street, S.W.) a parsonage and a small white frame church were built. This continued to serve the congregation until the spring of 1952. On March 24, 1952, the Society voted to purchase the old First Methodist church in downtown Mason City. This move to a larger building stimulated further growth, and by 1955 the congregation reached its peak in membership and attendance.

The 1955 Year Book records a total church membership of 96, and an average Sunday School attendance of 208.

Originally, evaluated at about $200,000 the old former Methodist church

On January 8, 1963 a contract was signed with Joseph T. KIMBEL, a representative of Church Enterprises, Inc. and R. R. ROSELER, a Christian contractor from Waseca, Minnesota was hired to supervise the construction of the new 44' x 80' church with a 24' x 32' annex. Excavation for the new church began June 10, 1963, and by November 3, services were being held in the basement auditorium. The first service in the completed sanctuary was held on Christmas Sunday.

Utilizing many hours of donated labor from members and friends, the total construction costs of the new church, including furnishings amounted to about $62,000.

On Sunday afternoon, May 3, 1964, Bishop Walter S. KENDALL dedicated the new Mason City Free Methodist Church "to be used for worship and service of the Almighty God."

To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

SOURCES: Globe-Gazette Mason City Centennial Issue, June 01, 1953

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011; updated December of 2014



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