The Church of Saint John the Baptist Episcopal

This church was a bit of a mystery to me when I found it back in 2021. The Church of Saint John the Baptist Episcopal is located on a pleasant street in Dunkirk, New York. I stumbled upon it while exploring the area around Jamestown in 2021.

I had gone to Jamestown for the Lucille Ball attractions and was out planning to see other things including a statue to the native son who created comic strip canine Marmaduke.

The slate roof of the church drew me right in and down Fourth Street for a closer look.

The front doors are gorgeous and inviting, adorned with festive Easter wreaths.

And yet, look up to find a broken window directly above the doors. Did they not know the window had been broken?

The church seemed well cared for with its pretty wreaths and some nicely tended spring bulbs in the side yard. They had Easter services just a couple of weeks before my visit. Surely someone would have been by to notice and at least board up the window.

I’m dying to known what’s going on there now but their Facebook page hasn’t been updated in over a year. I’ll have to cruise by if I’m ever in the neighborhood. Then again, maybe I’m better off not knowing. I may not like the answer.

Grand old churches like this one are at risk in towns and neighborhoods across the nation. Between growing maintenance and operations costs, aging congregations and the lure of big churches with community center type facilities, it’s hard for a simple House of the Lord to keep going. I see them all the time empty, run down, and often sold for cheap housing. It’s a sad fate but a very real one.

This church reminded me of a sweet old grandmother with a lot of life left in her, much wisdom and warm hugs to share despite a prominent broken tooth.

Here’s hoping she is getting the care she deserves and that the doors are still open for those who need a place to go for spiritual guidance.

Shawnee, Ohio

Last week we talked about Rendville, a small town with big history in an area known as the Little Cities of Black Diamonds.

Another town I drove through that day is the village of Shawnee, a hub during the mining boom of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With opera houses, churches, social groups, a bowling alley, newspapers, plenty of professional services and rail lines, it was quite the place.

The boom is long over but there remains remnants of another time including some fantastic, albeit crumbling downtown storefronts. A dedicated group of individuals is working to restore the Tecumseh Theater and to breathe new life into this old place that’s haunted with stories I would love to know.

Also, if you’re a hiker, the Buckeye Trail goes right by.

I don’t make it up to this area very often but always swing in to look at a couple of things. The image above represents one of them. That old sign is amazing and the flag above made for a great picture.