Historic church to host open house
Published 11:52 pm Friday, October 8, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
Smith’s Chapel, one of Cass County’s oldest landmarks, will have an open house Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Built in 1840 by Cannon Smith on Beardsley’s Prairie in what is now Milton Township, Smith’s Chapel is the oldest church in Cass County and one of the oldest in southwest Michigan.
The chapel served as a Methodist church until the late 1970s when it was purchased by Milton Township for a dollar.
Ann Brown of the Smith’s Chapel Historical Commission grew up going to the church, and her great-great-grandfather, Nicholas Follmer, helped construct the building.
“My family has had connections to the church for 170 years,” Brown said.
The Smith Chapel property includes a one-story, wood frame chapel and a four and a half-acre cemetery.
In 1967, church services were discontinued, but the church is still used for weddings and community events.
Last year, about $135,000-worth of improvements were completed to the chapel’s floors and foundation in a four-year project.
Smith said the open house will feature books with historical photos of the church and original documents “that go back as far as they can possibly go.”
The Smith’s Chapel annual holiday program is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. and will feature music, stories and a visit from Santa Claus.
The chapel is located at 29858 Redfield Rd. between Brush and Fir roads.