Old Rugged Cross searching for original church pewsPublished 6:36pm Sunday, August 22, 2010
Old Rugged Cross Foundation (ORCF) needs help with some detective work.
“We are looking for more of the original pews from The Original Old Rugged Cross Church,” said Robert Shaffer, ORCF president.
“We currently have two original pews and hope to locate more before we have new, replica pews made.”
Shaffer said that in the late 1800s, the Old Rugged Cross Church had two pew sizes in the sanctuary.
Most of the pews were eight feet long.
There also were a few four-foot-long pews.
Pews were constructed of oak, walnut and poplar wood.
“Donors have given us one eight-foot and one four-foot pew,” Shaffer said. “We would like to find four more four-foot pews and as many eight-foot pews as we can.”
The pews have distinctive decorative features on the outside of both ends, he said.
Those features include four 2 1/4-inch diameter wooden medallions on the armrest and upper portion of the pew.
Medallions extend 1 1/4 inches out from the pews, armrest and trim surfaces. There also is a 9-inch tall, raised shield-shaped plaque in the center of the lower portion of the pew end.
“We would appreciate hearing from anyone who has either size pew of this design, who would consider donating it to the ORCF,” Shaffer said. “If the pew is in good enough condition that it could be restored, we would be pleased to receive that donation.
“We want to locate as many original pews as possible because of their historic significance,” Shaffer said.
Locating original pews also will allow ORCF to maximize use of donors’ financial gifts for other restoration activities, he added.
ORCF plans to recognize pew donors by attaching dedication plates to the pews.
Shaffer said pew donations to ORCF would be considered charitable deductions if donors are able to claim such deductions on their federal income tax forms.
ORCF currently has the church’s original pump organ and pulpit.
In 2007, ORCF installed the original church bell and rope wheel in the replica bell tower.
The church is where the hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” was sung publicly in its entirety for the first time in 1913.
The Old Rugged Cross Historic Site is in Pokagon, one block south of Pokagon Highway, just east of M-51 and half way between Niles and Dowagiac.
The site includes the half-acre Old Rugged Cross Memorial Garden.
For more information, or to schedule a group tour, contact ORCF at (269) 683-4540 or P.O. Box 41, Niles, MI 49120, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.the-oldruggedcross.org
Tags: Old Rugged Cross