The church originated in the spring of 1909 when a missionary of the Congregational Sunday School Work, Rev. L.D. Pearson, organized a Sunday school. One year later, Rev. W.D. King covered the same area served by Rev. Pearson. Seeing the need of Sunday School and church service, in August 1910, Rev. King arranged for the Congregational Sunday School Missionaries to hold a series of tent meetings at Wells, NE. Meetings were conducted by Rev. J.D. Stewart, Superintendent of the Congregational Church and assisted by missionaries Rev. Fred L. Hall and L.O. Pearson.
On September 12, 1910, the people of Dry Valley organized plans for the "Dry Valley Union Congregational Church." In the spring of 1911, preparations began for building a church by the Dry Valley Congregation. Robert Boyer gave the land for the church and cemetery with the cornerstone for the church being laid on June 3, 1911. The church was constructed of concrete blocks and built by E.L. Holland who lived in the valley north of the church. Adjacent to the church is the Dry Valley Cemetery, which today has approximately 80 marked graves.
In 1924 the membership voted to withdraw from the denomination, but Sunday school continued to be held and pastors from the Mullen Methodist Church held special services and funerals there. According to church records, the last services were held by a mobile Pastor “Pop” Fabre during 1958.
After years of disuse, by 1986 the Dry Valley Church was in a state of despair. Local women realized the value of the church and spearheaded the Dry Valley Church restoration. After uncounted hours of volunteer work by many locals--new shingles, windows, doors, floor, insulation and dry wall, tin on the ceiling, plus other improvements, were completed.
Annual sunset services have been held at Dry Valley the Sunday before Memorial Day since 1988 and Candlelight Christmas services have been held since December 25, 1995. Each year the services average 70 people in attendance. By November 4, 1995, the church was restored enough to provide the perfect place for a country wedding. On that day, the first wedding in the newly refurbished church was held. A sing along was held on July 7, 2000, to celebrate the return of the original pump organ. Since restoration, three other weddings and three baptism services have been held at the church (as of 2007). Once 24 people were baptized in one service.
Today a sidewalk leads up to the Dry Valley Church. Inside, on top of the tongue and groove wood floors, sits the original refinished pews. The original pulpit stands at the altar, along with horseshoe candelabras, a wooden cross and lanterns attached to the frames of the two windows, which shines light into the altar. The walls are stark white with four large uniquely shaped windows on each side. Each window resembles the shape of the church as viewed from a distance. The tin ceiling, a replica of the original, shines with a chandelier to hold lanterns hanging from the center.
Thank You J. Ridenour for granting permission
to hide this cache and G. Peterson for the
information about the church and restoration.
When you turn north from the oil road, there is a fence gate to open and close behind you, when you enter or leave. You will be in a pasture with cattle, so ensure the gate is not open. The short pasture road to the church is in good shape, but can be problematic if the weather is inclement. You will have to park at the fence that surrounds the church and enter through a walk-in gate. Please ensure this gate is closed when you leave. There is a cemetery adjacent to the church, but you will not have to walk on any graves to claim this find. It is a short walk over level terrain to the cache, and if warm, there will be cacti and possibly snakes.
As noted, this cache is placed with permission, so be a good example of the geocaching community and respect the area, leaving it better than you found it. Respect those interred here, CITO if needed, and please rehide the container as you find it. Thank you and good luck.
Congratulations "seekingcaches" : First to Find - February 22, 2009