by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
The Pink Hill Methodist Church was organized in 1871 with thirteen charter members; J. M. Adams, Elisha Moore, Mrs. Elizabeth Moore, Frank Youree, E. P. St Clair, Mrs. Leanna Mann, Truce Duncan, C. E. St Clair, Mrs. Mary St. Clair, Mrs. Lucy Cundiff, Briton Capelle, Mrs. S. B. Keshler and J. W. Mann. The church was purchased from George R. Carlyle and his wife in 1871 and deeded to the first trustees; J. M. Adams, Frank Youree, Ephram Lane, Clinton Mayes, William Gilliland, Briton Capelle, Levi Potts and their successors.
The church structure was started in the fall of 1871 and completed in the spring of 1872. Timber was plentiful and the church was built with native lumber, cut, hauled to the sawmills and sawed into lumber. All of the work was donated and the total cost of the 36 x 48 feet building with 14 feet high ceilings was $3,000.
The building originally had two doors – one for the ladies who sat on one side of the church and a second door for the gents who sat on the other side. The unpretentious church had two stoves and two chimneys, but no steeple and no spire.
In 1873 the parsonage was built and the first Sunday School was organized. By 1875 the congregation had grown to 300, its highest membership. Between 1875-1877 approximately one-third of the population of Pink Hill and vicinity were members of the Pink Hill Church. The hopes of rebuilding after the Civil War, a school, and a church were not enough to bring the railroad to Pink Hill.
With the completion of the Chicago and Alton to Kansas City in 1878, Pink Hill became the mother church for churches established at Oakland, Grain Valley and Oak Grove. By the end of the century all that remained at Pink Hill was the school, the church and one general store which burned in 1903.
The little church struggled on, but never had the numbers it had once enjoyed. In 1909 the church organized the Epworth League for young adults. That same year the Ladies Aid was organized. Both organizations included social activities and reached out into the community. They still hoped to keep the church alive.
In 1921, fifty years after the dedication, the first Home Coming was held on the first Sunday in June. The yearly affair celebrated its highest attendance in 1926 when there were 250 people present for the morning service.
In 1945 electric lights were installed in the sanctuary. But in 1946 when the 75th anniversary was observed attendance was poor. In 1949 the church building was badly in need of repair. Interest had dwindled and attendance was low and irregular. It was evident that something had to be done.
With the labor of men, women, and children, old and young, members of the church and the community accomplished something of a revival. New roofing, new siding, new walls, and ceiling, new doors and various other improvements were made. 1953 saw a new basement added to the church and the Ladies Aid had a new meeting place.
The members of the church celebrated the 100th anniversary in 1971. After that date attendance again dwindled. With modern churches, and better educated ministers, the population sought other congregations. The church closed in May, 1977.
Note: Early church records, membership rolls and some of the original furnishings can be viewed at the Grain Valley Historical Society.
Learn more about the Grain Valley Historical Society at www.grainvalleyhistory.com.