Our state is fortunate to have many beautiful and and extraordinary churches. Many of these ornate and remarkable houses of worship are more than 100 years old and are, in many respects, architectural marvels. It may sound cliche, but they certainly don't build churches today like they used to.
One of the prettiest churches that I've encountered in my travels is located in Mount Carmel, a small German Catholic community in rural Carroll County.
On a recent Saturday, as I was heading south between Auburn and Carroll on Highway 71, a sign on the side of the road caught my eye.
It was a sign advertising Mount Carmel's upcoming sesquicentennial celebration to be held at the end of July. Making it to 150 years is definitely worth celebrating!
That sign was all the prodding I needed to go visit the community.
Mt. Carmel is located about two miles to the west of Highway 71 and as soon as you enter, you see that the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church is the true star of the show.
What a glorious looking building!
Carroll County has historically had a huge population of Catholics. I found a nice historical summary of this parsish online. According to this website, "In 1868, Bishop Hennessey encouraged Lambert Kniest, Henry Baumhover and a few friends to establish a settlement of democratic German Catholics in good standing. So they went west until they arrived at an elevated plateau. After discovering that it was the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the men named the sight (sic) and returned to Dubuque. The I. Blair Land and Townlot Company appointed Kniest the exclusive agent to sell 25 acres of wild prairie land to 50 settlers in five years or the agreement was not valid. The last two plots were given away to complete the contract made in 1869."
I was not able to go inside the church (maybe another time?) but I did drive around the community a little bit. They have a Facebook page for the church/parish and there are a lot of nice pictures of the inside of the church on that.
A parish hall has been added to the north of the church.
As is the case with a lot of old churches, there is also a graveyard nearby.
While the community is technically not an incorporated town, there are a few single family houses.
There is also a basketball court and a ball field.
There are a couple of other buildings in town as well, including a repair garage.
I hope they draw a large crowd of past and present parishioners to come back in July for this celebration. This is certainly an incredible milestone.