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MARS HILL CHURCH

OTTUMWA, IOWA

by Jody Bresch


The Mars Hill Church southeast of Ottumwa, Iowa was severely damaged by an arson fire in March of 2006. The Mars Hill Church Board sought the advice of the Iowa State Historical Society about proceeding with plans to restore Mars Hill Church. It was decided that enough of the church remained that it could be rebuilt, and it's historical integrity would remain intact.

So board member, Todd Smithhart, contacted a restoration company in Minnesota for initial bids to rebuild the historic log cabin church. Those initial bids came in at $104,000.00. The community and the board seemed to be of one accord. The plan was to raise the money it would take to rebuild.

Initially, we had volunteers step forward to help stabilize the building. An individual notified us that he had a log cabin house from the same time period the church had been built in, made with the same hand hewn logs, and that he would donate the logs from the house for our efforts if we would take the house down. Glen O'Dell did this job for us at a cost of $3,500.00.

Teresa Foster notified Jody Bresch that she had a historic barn from the 1920's that she would donate to the effort. When we investigated her offer, the lumber in the barn was in outstanding condition and Don Braumschreiber, Todd Smithhart, and Larry Crow salvaged enough lumber to replace the plank flooring and to replace the roof. Estimated value of this donation was placed at $5,975.00.

Completed Fund-Raising Project:

$9,286.90 - Mars Hill Church Auction, October 2006.

Letters to businesses around the area to solicit donations.

Contacting local and area churches. asking them to take up a special collection for the Mars Hill Church.

Soup supper and pie auction.

Tenderloin supper.

Summer Raffle

October 27th,Benefit Concert

Fremont Lions Club

November 3, 2007

$1,100

First Methodist Church Supper

Oskaloosa, IA

November 26, 2007

$533.00

Ongoing Fund-Raising Project:

On-Going Pop Can Drive

Treasurerís Report

January 8, 2008

Balance Forward - $5,109.65

Mars Hill Church account - $745.72

Balance - $4,059.65 (unencumbered)

$5,000 CD will mature 3/5/08

$10,000 CD will mature 6/5/08

Upcoming Fund-Raising Project:

May Garage Sale

1829 West Main Street

Ottumwa, IA

May, 2008

Ben Post Home

641-682-6540

Sale of Framed Prints of Painting and Photograph of Mars Hill Church

Mail Donations To:

South Ottumwa Savings Bank

320 Church Street

Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Mars Hill Church Restoration Fund

320 Church

Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

or to

Ben Post

Mars Hill Church Treasurer

1829 West Main Street

Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

A garage sale fundraiser is planned the first part of May. We will start taking items after April 15. We can pick up or the items can be brought to 1829 West Main Street, Ottumwa, Iowa. We are asking that no clothes be brought. They would do more good taken to the Salvation Army Store.

The following work still needs to be finished: Windows to be made and installed; a door to be constructed and hung; ceiling boards put up; flooring; landscaping; fencing; and a security system installed and completed.

The annual picnic, meeting and rededication of the church is planned June 8. Also, honors are to be given to a Civil War veteran who is buried in the church cemetery.

Many things are in the planning. This is day which you won't want to miss!

Other Links

The Legend of Mars Hill

Mars Hill Church Burns (Ottumwa Courier, March 2006).

Mars Hills Auction A Success (Ottumwa Courier, March 2006).

Restoration company brings hope to Mars Hill (Ottumwa Courier, March 2006).

Supervisors Put Support Behind Mars Hill Restoration Efforts (Ottumwa Courier, Wednesday, January 24, 2007).

Starting Work On Restoring Mars Hill Log Church (Ottumwa Courier, Friday, March 23, 2007).

Building and Rebuilding of Mars Hill Log Church (Ottumwa Courier, Monday, April 30, 2007).

Generosity Rebuilding Mars Hill Church (Ottumwa Courier, Friday, July 13, 2007).

Mars Hill Getting Ready to Reopen (Ottumwa Courier, Wednesday, May 28, 2008).

A New Start for Mars Hill Church (Ottumwa Courier, Monday, June 9, 2008).

Mars Hill Log Church Dedication Video (Ottumwa Courier, Sunday, June 8, 2008).

Jody's Blog

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