Demolition begins on "Red Church"

Baldwin, WI (WEAU ) -- A church that's been up more than 100-years is coming down. Demolition began this weekend on Peace Lutheran church in Baldwin.

The tear down comes after members of the church voted earlier this summer to demolish the so called "Red Church" citing safety concerns and the cost of repairs.

Earlier this summer protestors gathered to boycott the demolition of what they called "a landmark".

After 109 years, the Red Church is coming down.

"We were all sad to see the church come down, but it had served its purpose, so we could move on," says Dorothy Larson, a member of Peace Lutheran since 1972.

"It was emotional but again, it has served us well and it's served many, many people,” says Dorthoy who was present during the start of demolition on Friday, August 15th.

Pastor John Hanson says the demolition of the structure is mostly due to safety concerns. He says a 60 pound brick fell off the roof one day, and questions what would have happened if someone had been standing there.

Hanson says the decision to take down the church was a difficult one, and a lengthy process but that the demolition isn't taking very long, due in part to the volunteers that are coming together to be a part of the church’s final days.

“We thought it would be done best by the people who love the church and utilize their skills, which were skills in carpentry, plumbing, electricity," says Hanson.

Hanson says the congregation is thankful nobody has been hurt by the crumbling structure. He says the space will now be utilized and honored.

“We hope to utilize the some of the stain glass windows; we hope to use some of the wood. We hope to use some of the remaining stones as well as add to it and we'll make it a place where people come to remember," Hanson says, but also mentions that there are no official plans in progress.

Hanson says time was given to raise money to repair the Red Church for those that were protesting the demolition, but the funds weren't raised.

He says for now, the congregation has chosen to focus their efforts on ministry not just in the area, but around the world.

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