Images of the past: Milton Presbyterian Church

For 122 years, the old church building has occupied its corner on Milton’s Main Street. The church was built in 1898 by the Presbyterians with its tall, imposing bell tower (above, about 1907). The church was an important part of the community for much of its existence. But the membership dwindled as the congregants died or moved away, and in 1950, the church was sold to the Nazarene congregation.

In the 1970s, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Muntz purchased the building. They decided to sell the bell and stained glass windows and then raze the building. They had removed the bell — the bell tower previously had been reduced to a stump of its former height — when a group of concerned citizens formed the Milton Heritage Society in 1974. With help from the Van Buren County Foundation and a grant from the Iowa Bicentennial Commission, the society purchased the former church for $3,500 and saved it from demolition. The bell was returned to the building.

Mrs. Clark Stookesberry, president of the Milton Heritage Society, said at the time that the building would be used as a community center and a meeting place for senior citizens. Today, the former church is still owned by the heritage society and is now known as the Heritage House. It is open during special events or by appointment.  

—Rudy Evans  |  revans1953@gmail.com