“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Rowena in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Rowena Methodist Church

Rowena Methodist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
September 5, 2021
1. Rowena Methodist Church Marker
Inscription.  In 1874 the first Sunday school was held in the crude dugout home of Madison and Elizabeth Webster. The pupils studied directly from the Bible for several years until additional materials were purchased from a traveling missionary. A Methodist circuit-riding minister preached the first sermon in this area in the winter of 1874-1875. He spoke in the two-room sod shanty home of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel McMackin. While God's word warmed the souls of the worshipers, twisted hay fueled the fire that warmed the home.

In the 1880s circuit-riding preachers of various denominations often held services in homes, schools, and even a granary. The founding of Rowena in 1888 quickly followed the opening of nearby quartzite quarries. Four years later Methodist services were held in the new Rowena Town Hall. Music for hymn singing was provided each Sunday morning by a reed organ carried to the hall from a nearby home. Spiritual conversions led to baptisms held in the Big Sioux River and in the Rowena Quarry.

In 1901 a meeting around a kitchen table resulted in plans to build a church building. Construction of the new church home began in 1902,
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and by September the two cornerstones had been placed. The first event held in the church was the funeral of Jennie Wright who
died a few days before her planned marriage. The building was not yet completed so cloth was nailed over the windows to keep out the cold. The Methodist Episcopal Church of Rowena was dedicated February 8, 1903, after building cost totaling $1900 had been pledged in full.

Two young girls held ice cream socials to raise $60 for a church bell. Because one church family doubted that the money would be raised, they declined to help. However, when the bell arrived at the depot, the same family then donated money to be used to buy a bell rope. At a Christmas service in 1905, the bell was presented to the church.

In the 1920s unsuccessful attempts were made by the Ku Klux Klan to infiltrate the church. On one occasion to draw attention to a burning cross on a nearby hillside, they tolled the community fire signal by using the church bell.

In the 1960s due to a decline in membership, services were combined with the Ben Clare United Methodist Church. The Rowena Methodist Church closed in 2002. Through their faithfulness, prayers, and worship, the members of this pioneer church were led by God's Spirit for over 100 years.
Erected 2003 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society. William
Rowena Methodist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
September 5, 2021
2. Rowena Methodist Church Marker
L. Webster authored the marker text.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Churches & Religion. A significant historical year for this entry is 1874.
Location. 43° 31.194′ N, 96° 33.296′ W. Marker is in Rowena, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is on South Dakota Route 42 west of Douglas Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 48277 SD-42, Brandon SD 57005, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Town of Rowena Dakota Territory (approx. 0.3 miles away); Iverson Crossing Road (approx. 2 miles away); 1897 Bridge at Iverson Crossing (approx. 2.3 miles away); Banning's Mill and Crossing (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Samuelson Family Dakota Pioneers / A Pioneer Cabin (approx. 2˝ miles away); The Samuelsons and their Cabin (approx. 2˝ miles away); Disperse (approx. 2.6 miles away); fruit (approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rowena.
Rowena Methodist Church Marker, from the west image. Click for full size.
September 5, 2021
3. Rowena Methodist Church Marker, from the west
Rowena Methodist Church Marker, from the east image. Click for full size.
September 5, 2021
4. Rowena Methodist Church Marker, from the east
Credits. This page was last revised on September 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 12, 2021. This page has been viewed 196 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 12, 2021. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 17, 2024