by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Known now as Acquaint Gathering, the oldest continuously used building in Grain Valley was dedicated as a church in 1889. The original structure was erected on lots 3 and 4 in Finnell’s Addition. The land was purchased from Mary Wright and her husband J. B. Keshlear. The first church trustees, Joseph R Hudson, David T. Johnson and W. L Williams purchased the lots for $60 and $75 respectively. They were on Capelle Street just south of the Grain Valley School.
The Methodist Episcopal Church South began in 1888, and was the third church building in Grain Valley. The Christian Church was established in 1883, and the First Baptist Church was established in 1884.
Lumber for the church was hauled to the site from a nearby lumber mill by William Armstrong. With very limited funds, only the main room or sanctuary was able to be enclosed and furnished with simple benches and a pulpit. First called Pleasant Valley Chapel, Perdee Chapel on Moreland School Road in Stony Point, was sold and the proceeds were used to finish the walls and plank floor and equip the new church.
The church building remained unchanged for nearly 60 years. By 1948 the growing little church was in need of Sunday School rooms, a kitchen, a dining room and an attic for future classrooms.
Then in 1962 a legacy of $6,300 was received which made it possible for the church to purchase a new heating system (to replace the huge jacketed stove in the back corner) and a bathroom. Years later additional classrooms were completed upstairs, and the entire interior got a facelift.
With limited space and even more limited parking, the congregation had to seek land for a new church. In 2007 Faith United Methodist Church relocated to Eagles Parkway, but the building is still very much in use.
The owners of Acquaint Gathering have kept the integrity of the building, as they turned it into a facility for special events. They provide a great venue for weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties and family reunions. They even hosted a prom there for a small Christian school.
And for the past two years, Faith United Methodist has filled the old church for their Ash Wednesday Service. The roots run deep in this old building.
The Grain Valley Historical Society Museum is located at 506 South Main Street and online at www.grainvalleyhistory.com.
Known now as Acquaint Gathering, the oldest continuously used building in Grain Valley was dedicated as a church in 1889. Photo credit: Diana Luppens, Switch Focus Studios