Walkerton looks to restore "endangered" building - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Walkerton looks to restore "endangered" building

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The Walkerton Church has stood in the middle of town for over 100  years.

The city's building commissioner Phillip Buckmaster says it's been a landmark since it was built in 1903. "It was a beautiful building in it's time and it's structure was built very sound. It's unfortunate at this point that it has deteriorated because of lack of use."

He says it seats a congregation of 75 to 100. Over the years it housed a Presbyterian Church and Pentecostal Church and Buckmaster says it's a structure you just don't see anymore. "They don't have stained glass windows as much anymore, you don't have the architectural design, the bell towers, those kinds of things that you had when they build them in the 1900s."

Now it's been abandoned for seven years and Buckmaster says it's became a hazard to the community. "We decided at that point that we would probably tear it down."

That's when Indiana Landmarks stepped in, putting it on the top 10 endangered list and looking for potential buyers. The regional director Todd Zeiger says they are looking for someone who can find a new purpose for the building. "It's an anchor building as you come in and out of Walkerton. A lot of people know this church building."

He says there are many churches just like this one around the state. He hopes by putting the Walkerton Church on the endangered list, it will spark discussions about saving as many as possible. "There's these churches that are well built, used for so many decades, witnessed lots of things in people's lives and they've just fallen on hard times."

The ceiling is falling in, the foundation is crumbling, but Buckmaster says it was a site to see in it's prime. "You don't have a lot of building that are like this anymore."

And he says, with the proper resources, there's no reason why it can't be brought back to life.

Indiana Landmarks will have volunteers cleaning the building on the inside and outside Friday to prepare the church for an Open House on May 10 and 11. To RSVP for the open house you can call 574-232-4534 or click here.

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