This year's tour of historic churches continues Friday, Dec. 16, from 3-9 PM, covering 24 churches in northern Cape Girardeau County, southern Perry County, and northeastern Bollinger County. See this website for details and a printable map. Below is a sampling from the five churches closest to Cape Girardeau:
Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church - Fruitland
Organized 1838, present church built 1892
Pleasant Hill is the predecessor to the modern-day town of Fruitland. In the 1830s, the church established Pleasant Hill Academy, one of the oldest institutes of higher learning in the area. The current church building includes a ceiling showcasing some impressive carpentry work.
St. John's United Church of Christ - west of Fruitland
Organized 1877, present church built 1922 after a tornado destroyed the old one
The greeters at St. John's were very proud of the new stained glass windows installed this year.
First Baptist Church - Oak Ridge
Organized 1873, present church built 1906
The story in TBY about the church tour mentions that the Oak Ridge church "promises to be a favorite again this year." It's easy to see why, with the greeters giving a detailed tour of the building and its history, plus refreshments and caroling. One notable feature of the church's sanctuary is the sloping floor -- a kind of early "stadium seating" -- which means everybody can see the pastor (and vice versa). Notice how the pews are gently sloped below the stained-glass windows.
Apple Creek Presbyterian Church - Pocahontas
Organized 1821, present church built 1873
Since regular church services were suspended in 1939, this church doesn't have electricity, giving it an authentic 1800s feel complete with candles, lanterns, and a pair of stoves linked by a fascinating stovepipe system. A sign in front boasts that this is the "third oldest Presbyterian church west of the Mississippi."
St. John's Lutheran Church - Pocahontas
Organized in the 1860s, present church built 1910 following a lightning strike that destroyed the previous building
It's a funny coincidence that both churches named "St. John's" in northern Cape County were destroyed by natural disasters in the early 1900s, but both were rebuilt in splendor. The sanctuary in this Pocahontas church includes many artistic details and embellishments, including the columns and walls that are painted to look like stone, a featured carried over from churches in the "Old Country" of Germany.