EARLVILLE – After more than 100 years, the brick facade and windows of Rollo Congregational United Church of Christ have remained mostly unchanged. The condition and consistency are some of the factors that led to its recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places.
Carol Bend, one of the volunteers who worked for more than two years to do the research and prepare the necessary paperwork, said the volunteers spent hours looking through records to learn the history of the building, 2471 Weddell St., Earlville.
“They were more interested in the building itself, not so much the history,” Bend said.
The structure’s uniqueness, while one of the reasons it would eventually be listed on the register, also made the application process difficult. Bend said they had to find similar churches in the area, but there aren’t many.
According to a news release from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the church is “a good example of a side steeple vernacular church with elements of the Romanesque Revival style.”
The church was listed on Aug. 27.
Bend said that the congregation has taken care of the structure since it was built in 1913 and dedicated in 1914 and that is why it is in such good of shape. The congregation was supportive of the efforts to get on the register. She and another volunteer, Nancy Pardrige, looked through documents and old newspaper articles to find the necessary information.
“We just kept digging and digging and digging,” Bend said.
They needed to find details such as where the bricks were made and who poured the foundation for the application process. One of the stories Bend said they uncovered was that the bricks were made in DeKalb and shipped along a rail line running by the church.
The congregation dates back to the 1860s, she said, when several other churches in the area merged.
“The church was constructed with volunteer labor, which was supervised by an experienced local builder hired for the project,” according to the IDNR release. “Presently, the church remains in excellent condition with no new additions and most of the work completed in the building having only been done for maintenance purposes.”