Preservation Iowa’s 2017 Most Endangered Buildings: Hampton Church of Christ, Hampton (Franklin County)
The construction of this church began in 1916 to replace an 1893 building which the congregation had since outgrown. On November 11, 1916, a fire broke out in the nearly completed church. With flames pouring over the roof, the fire alarm sounded in the town and all who were able came in an effort to squelch the fire, but it had already spread to such an extent the efforts were fruitless and the fire all but destroyed the building. The following morning, the congregation met in the Windsor Theater, less than a block away from the smoldering remains of their hoped for new Church home, and held a congregational vote resulting in a unanimous decision to go forward and rebuild. The work of clearing the debris and assessing the damage to the building started immediately and a plan for reconstruction was set. An additional $30,000 was raised and construction commenced in the middle of winter in 1917.
By mid to late summer the Building was complete. On Sunday Sept 9 , 1917 the current building was dedicated into service. The architectural style of the building is representative of the “Neo Classical Revival Style” and as such it outwardly resembles structures such as court houses much more than it does a Church in the traditional sense. The building contains no religious iconography such as crosses or stained glass on its exterior, with only a cornerstone that sets it off as a Church.
At present, the congregation no longer meets in the building as it does not accommodate their needs and has plans to build a new facility on 11 acres of land in another location.
The structure of the building is in good condition. The large steps on the front of the building were re- done, as well as all the surrounding brickwork, in 2008. The roof leaks and needs to repaired or possibly replaced. The interior of the building has water damage as well as some areas that have not been properly maintained. There is a large amount of custom woodwork inside the building that has been well maintained.
Conversations between congregation leaders and local entities and town officials about possibilities for reuse are ongoing but there are no plans as of yet.
Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered Property program was started in 1995 and implemented to educate Iowans about the special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away from us. In the past 20 years, Preservation Iowa has designated over 140 archaeological sites, churches, landscapes and a variety of other buildings.
The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2017 Most Endangered Properties includes:
- Endangered: Red Bridge, Monroe
- Endangered: Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Waterloo
- Endangered: Hampton Church of Christ, Hampton
- Endangered: Mandalay Mansion, Cedar Falls
- Endangered: Apollo School, Burlington
- Endangered: Exchange Block, Chariton
- Endangered: Stone Schoolhouse, Lansing
- Endangered: Wade & Donohoe Buildings, Cherokee
- Endangered: Iowa State Penitentiary (2nd year)