BISMARCK — A beautiful stained glass window with the words Walnut Corner sits ready to be preserved as a piece of history inside the Vermilion County Museum’s basement.

It was donated in January from the Walnut Corner Church of Christ.

Now months later, it is one of the only things that remain of the church in rural Bismarck which burned to the ground Monday night.

It’s believed lightning started the fire.

According to historical information about the church, the first church congregation formed in 1834, said Sue Richter, director of the Vermilion County Museum.

The congregation initially met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. William O. Cunningham.

It was 1850 when they decided to build a union house, Richter said.

“The settlement was where there was an existing grove of walnut trees,” she said.

Walnut Corner Church of Christ later combined with the Christian church out of State Line, Ind., Richter said.

“They put the cornerstone for the new church in place in October 1903,” Richter said.

The Brown brothers of Bismarck, who owned the lumber and hardware store, were the contractors to build it. The cost was $4,000 for construction.

The new church building was dedicated on May 8, 1904. The first wedding occurred in December 1919.

Don Dice of Bismarck was one of the last active members of the church.

Dice’s daughter, Christina (Dice) Trusner also in 2014 put together a book, all in pictures, on the church.

There had been facelifts over the years.

“The thing that was unique was its architecture,” Richter said, adding that it’s a shame a fire destroyed the structure.

In January, the stained glass window that was above the front door was donated to the museum.

The last service in the church was on Dec. 29, 2019.

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