A Bit of History

Front View HistoricIn 1867, a group of German-Americans banded together to construct Pine Mills German Methodist Episcopal Church in a rural area near Muscatine, Iowa. Limestone, quarried nearby, as used to build the church. Services at the church were conducted in German and ran from 1867 until 1910. Following this, the church building was used for various purposes, eventually coming to stand idle in its prominent location overlooking beautiful Pine Creek Valley.

While doing family history research in the late 1990s, Colorado resident, Steve Schoenig, uncovered a photo of the church. Steve eventually came in contact with the owner of the church, Paul Kemper, a descendant of one of men who had helped build the church. Together, Paul and Steve began to talk of restoring the church. In 2003, the church was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places and in 2006, was deeded to Friends of the Old Stone Church, a non-profit entity formed under the auspices of the Muscatine Area Heritage Association.

Restoration of the church began in 2008. While some work, such as re-roofing the church, was done with hired, professional labor, most of the tasks associated with restoration were completed by a dedicated group of hands-on, local volunteers. With restoration largely completed in late 2010, the first service in the church was a celebratory event held at Christmas, 100 years after the last regularly scheduled service had been conducted in this simple, country place of worship.

Today, the church is actively maintained by local volunteers, with its upkeep supported by Friends of the Old Stone Church membership contributions. The church is periodically open for special events such as its recurring Christmas service. It also available for weddings and other family events for a nominal rental charge.