Church and "Church"

Western Travel Blog

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I woke up early this morning in Cheyenne, Wy to drop Dad off at the truck stop and then quickly rushed back into town to have my windshield replaced.. This will be the 4th windshield replacement in the past 18 months! The people even recognized me as I walked through the door! LOL :P   I should have replaced it months ago, but I can procrastinate like its an olympic sport. :P After a couple of hours I had a new windshield minus cracks, scratches and pits!! I must state the obvious that seeing clearly through your windshield is a wonderful experience! :P

From there I rapidly pack my stuff up at the hotel, headed East into Nebraska and then North on HWY 71 toward Scotts Bluff! I had seen what I thought was an old church surrounded by autumn colors a few days earlier when we were working and was determined ever since to return to photograph it.

Yellow Archway
... 

Unfortunately the sky was a frightfully bleak grey. Not nearly as beautiful as the day before or as the day was when I first drove by the "church". I was worried how poor weather  would affect my photos. There was a small part of me that thought perhaps I should scrap the detour I was taking for the purpose of photographing this "church" and just continuer East toward Iowa. 

But onward with my original plan I went and I am so happy that I didn't turn back!!

Before I even came close to Scotts Bluff I found this sweet little farmhouse on the side of the road.. Inside was a mess of furniture, papers and a disturbingly large amount of what I am pretty sure were empty bullet shells... I didn't spend too much time there.. Used the gloomy weather out side to get a few decent interior shots and a couple of exterior shots, though I think the exterior would be better with clearer weather.

.. It was a lovely old home and must have been real cozy back in the day..  

I only had a few hours left of the day and the sky was still bleak and colorless! So further on I must go!! Gotta find my "church" before it is too dark to photograph it! :P

Not too far from Scotts Bluff is the small town of Minatare, NE.. Its a tiny town of a few hundred people. I was about to pass by it without a blink of the eye when I happened to notice a boarded up church building in town.. Without a second thought I made a uturn and headed straight for this new Church! 

The building was alone on the lot. All the windows were boarded up except for one that was broken. On the front door was a phone number along with a name and the word Honey.. "strange", I thought to myself.

Yellow chair
One doesn't usually post a phone number on a church door.. Quickly I jotted it down in my sketchbook thinking that it might be useful later on. As I walked around the building I find the corner stone with the date 1932 and see that the church was originally a Lutheran church.. Pretty cool so far, thats more information than I usually get.. Then I walk around to the back end of the building and see the "Honey for Sale" sign along with another sign on the broken back door stating that there are live bee hives inside!! 

WHAT?!?! I suddenly feel like I am walking through that movie "Secret Lives of Bees" and half expecting Queen Latifah to poke her head out! haha! There are a few boards missing from the back door and I can't suppress the urge to peek through.

Honey Church
Inside I can see those live bee hives. there are several!! I wanted to crawl through the small space, but I am in the middle of a tiny town and everyone that drove by stared at me with wonderment at what I was doing... probably best to suppress my trespassing tendencies! :)

I finished taking my photos of the Minatare Church! Definitely gonna have to call that phone number and see if I can get inside!! Then it is back on the road to drive the ten miles or so to the "Church" building that I had originally set out to photograph!

 

I love this building!!! Its a wooden building devoid of paint, nestled tightly within a thicket of trees and long thick stemmed weeds.. All that is immediately visible from the road is the front entrance.. If you looked a second longer you would see the rest of the building peeking behind a few trees.

Honey Church

There is a path of flattened weeds leading from the road to the front door. Of course I follow it! The weeds are over 6 feet tall and the stems are super thick! I feel like I am walking through a jungle! The front door is closed.. I was hoping it would be open and I was hesitant to walk on the floor.. The place looked unstable.. So I back out and try to see more of the outside.. After a few minutes I realized that the road I am parked on had a high trafficked figured that I should probably talk with one of the three houses nearby about gaining permission to photograph the building..   

 

I stumbled over to the nearest house and knock on the back door. Within seconds a heard of kittens and young cats come running toward me (probably thinking that it as food time) as the woman of the house open the door with a quizzical expression.

Farmhouse
I introduce myself and explain my photo series. I asked her about the "church" around the corner. She knew the owners and went in to call for me to see if I could have the permission I was seeking for.

Permission Granted!!! :)  The woman behind the door also gave me some information about the place.. For example it was NOT a church! It was in fact a schoolhouse and her husband went to kindergarten there. The place ceased being used as a school house since 1976...   And from my future snooping around I came to the conclusion that the building was most likely used as both a church and sunday school on Sunday and basic schooling during the week for the meager sized community.. This place doesn't even have a name, its just a feedlot, abandoned building and a about three houses nearby.

.. Therefore I think it is a safe deduction that it is highly possible that this building would have several uses...

 

anyway I stumble back to the schoolhouse and rewalk the path that I mentioned earlier to find that the few minutes since I left the door had opened.... Thats weird, because I know for a fact (and later checked my photos) that this door was closed all the way!!! There was NO WIND and if a breeze did happen to pass through, there are so many trees and high weeds that it would not be strong enough to push open this door!!! 

I should probably walk away at this point... But I am a curious individual and can't help but feel that I should look through the creepy door... I gingerly step on the wooden floor and move closer to the door, open it a little more and stare into this large open space! There is no furniture left.

I hate how boring the sky is!
. not surprised.. Some of the chalk board still remains on the wall and a little stage of some sorts.. The stage is why I think that the building was used as a church as well...  Just a hunch!

I don't go further inside despite this strong feeling that the building wants me to go further. I pull away and push my way through the jungle of dead weeds toward the back... It is there that I notice basement windows and peek in to see what is the deepest basement I have ever seen before!!! HOLY COW that would suck to fall through these floors into THAT space! 

I look up at the building again and still I can't shake off that feeling to enter... around the corner I find another entrance missing a door.. Looking in I am so impressed with the stillness of the vast space.

The door closed....
. In the center I could see where there were once sliding doors used to divide the room into two spaces... (this detail makes me think of a possible congregation and sunday school coming together on Sunday morning) there are a few odd closet spaces and what was once a beautiful row of windows. I imagine that this room was often flooded with sunlight during math lessons... 

I take a few steps inside making note that the floor is very old and there is a very deep basement that I do not want to fall into.... and again I feel this really strong sensation to go further inside.. This space wants me, its forlorn..

When was the last time someone smiled or laughed inside these walls?? 

Slowly I back away, pulling myself free from the school house.

Beautiful row of windows!
. I breaks my heart.. I'm there, the floor is surprisingly strong considering its exposure to weather elements.... but still I walk back out the door....

Outside and it is difficult to get any decent photos of the exterior without it looking like a cheap snap shot.. Plus it starts to rain.  

eventually I head back to Simone, constantly looking back at the doorway. looking for something.

and then I drive....

 

 

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Yellow Archway
Yellow Archway
Yellow chair
Yellow chair
Honey Church
Honey Church
Honey Church
Honey Church
Farmhouse
Farmhouse
I hate how boring the sky is!
I hate how boring the sky is!
The door closed....
The door closed....
Beautiful row of windows!
Beautiful row of windows!
Kitchen
Kitchen
A Mess.....
A Mess.....
The door opened...
The door opened...
The jungle of weeds!!!
The jungle of weeds!!!
Some strange vine plant growing on…
Some strange vine plant growing o…
Basement door and school entrance
Basement door and school entrance
an old sign hidden in the woods..
an old sign hidden in the woods..
The moon...
The moon...
Western
photo by: esterrene