Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: September songs…

Friday is the last day of September. The month has gone by at warp speed, as they all seem to, that is unless you’re a ten year old. Let me put it this way; it is roughly three months until the New Year. It has only been three months since the last one. Think about it. This is where we insert a smiley face punctuated with a lol.
We are sorry to hear of the passing of Anna Grace Turner Prielipp this week. Anna, by way of birth, was a Blevins Street girl, and one with deep Marion roots. I’ve always known Anna Grace, her Turner family, especially her uncle Gerald who knew us all, and of course, her sisters Kay and Sue, who is my longest friend. They all are a dear part of my Marion memories. We send condolences and good thoughts to Bernard and her family.
A couple of weeks ago when I visited the VFW farm market, I ran into my old grade school friend, Sarah Blackledge Grove. I am always glad to see her and catch-up. And I had heard that she was looking for me with a Marion question, my favorite kind. It was providential.
It seems that she and brother, Martin (Marty as she fondly calls him), recently had a discussion over coffee about a well known Main Street building. That got them wondering about its past.
So this week we’ll tell what we know about the only entirely cobblestone structure located within the bounds of Marion, Michigan. Built by the Seventh Day Adventist congregation this structure served as a church and the center of its activities for more than 40 years. Of course, this building has a story to tell.
The Seventh Day Adventist congregation has a long and sometimes thin history in Marion; at times only numbering a faithful handful of folks. Early members who, along with Pastor Williams, were motivated to build a church include Edwin Cook Sr. of Hartwick Twp., the families of Harry Ealy of Highland, Donald Olds, Sr., and William England of Marion Twp., the teacher, WT Chester who lived in the village and Sam Tjalsma, the stone mason of Winterfield Twp.
It was this handful of dedicated Adventists who, during the Depression, found a way to build a church. Marion (Mary) Clark donated a lot on Main Street for the church and soon after members began hauling stone from their farms and fields for the structure. As many know, the stone “crop” never fails in the Marion area. Sam Tjalsma, who was also an architect in the building of the church, installed his door lintel, proclaiming to all that this was the Seventh Adventist Church, dedicated on July 31, 1937.
By 1978 the Adventists purchased the vacated church on west Main Street at Flemming, leaving busy downtown behind, where they worship to this day.
The cobblestone building was purchased by Dr. Ted Parkhurst, DDS, who renovated the building to suit his needs and relocated his dental practice there. When Dr. Parkhurst retired, he sold his practice and building to dentist, Jon Toepler of Cadillac, who operated a satellite office in Marion for a number of years. When Dr. Toepler sold, the cobblestone building went vacant and eventually became the property of Marion’s then busy Downtown Development Authority. That group, not wishing to become a landlord voted to sell the property. Enter Fred and Christie Prielipp who purchased the little cobblestone church and gave it a renovation and yet another life. Known as Christie’s Stone Venue and available for all kinds of celebrations from bridal showers to birthday parties, Marion’s cobblestone church is now a gathering place of another kind.
I hope this answers those questions. But there’s one more thing. As many should remember, Big Dad’s Ideal Bar the popular Marion watering hole, sat in very close proximity to the little cobblestone church until it was torn down ten years ago. Shoppers at the IGA were mystified because they could not purchase beer or wine at the grocery situated across the street, but could go to the Ideal and drink a cold one twenty-five feet from the church’s front door.
This lead people to ask what became the immortal question; how could someone be allowed to build a bar next to a church? And yes, there are rules about that. In this case the answer is simple. The tavern and its license were there first. Apparently there are no rules against a church building next to a tavern, or any business selling spirits, should they so choose.
Our photo this week is of Main Street ca 1938. The new Seventh Day Adventist church is on the extreme right, looking much as it does today. At its left is the Ideal Cafe. The building has been there since things were rebuilt after the fire of 1904. Patrons here could order a beer with their lunch. Apologies for the photo quality.

One Reply to “Postcard from the Pines: September songs…

  1. Good riding lots of memories nothing like having a beer and going to church at the same time just coming out of Temple

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