Church centennial draws large crowd

Joan Eskew of East Wenatchee and Nada Wentz of Wenatchee look through a photo album displayed on a table outside the church. (Karen Larsen photo)

 

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

On Sept. 19, exactly 100 years after the dedication of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Douglas, friends from near and far came to celebrate with food, fellowship and music. People also enjoyed learning about the history of the church through photos and memorabilia.

The centennial celebration was organized by the Douglas Community Historical Association.

Maryann Mabbott, a 1965 Waterville High School graduate who now lives in Woodinville, was one of those that came from a distance to remember a church that had been important in her early years and in the history of her family. Mabbott came with two programs of the 1915 dedication service that had been passed down to her from her grandfather Frank Dahlke, who was a member of the church. The program, most of which was printed in German, revealed a full day of services, events and food to celebrate the dedication. Mabbott said she remembers attending the church as a little girl and attending Vacation Bible School and Christmas programs. She said that she was confirmed at the church in Waterville, because the St. Paul’s congregation had merged with the Waterville congregation to form United Lutheran Church by that time. Mabbott donated one of the programs to the Douglas Community Historical Association.

Joan Eskew of East Wenatchee spent time looking through an album of wedding photos displayed on one of the tables. Her parents Chris and Mattie Hinderer were married in the church. Nada (Willms) Wentz, a friend and distant relative, enjoyed looking at the photos with Eskew. Wentz said that though she grew up in Wenatchee, she came to Douglas often and has family connections to the church.

Judy (Viebrock) Pace of Snohomish grew up in Douglas along with her sisters Marilyn Gearhart and Valerie Carrier. Pace brought her daughter Heidi Davalos and granddaughter Raquel Davalos. “I was really surprised that they wanted to come. I was thrilled,” Pace said. At a display of vintage cars at the back of the church, Pace showed Heidi and Raquel the truck that her parents John and Esther Viebrock had used to haul horses and wheat. She told them that each Fourth of July her uncle and aunt Bill and Elma Viebrock and their daughter Alison would take Judy, Marilyn and Valerie on the Waterville Wranglers Riding Club annual trail ride. They would put about three horses in the back of the pickup truck and drive to their destination, which would be the Entiat or Icicle River areas. At the end of the day, they would clean out the back of the pickup, cover it with a tarp and the girls would sleep inside. “The trail rides were always a lot of fun and something to look forward to,” Pace said.

In addition to Waterville residents and those with connections to the church, some guests came from other parts of North Central Washington after reading about the event in The Wenatchee World.

Throughout the day, local musicians performed in the sanctuary of the church. A lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and cake was provided by the Historical Association in the basement of the church. Many visitors brought their meal outside on the lawn to eat on covered tables there. There was a PowerPoint presentation of church history, created by Waterville High School student Miles Mittelstaedt, that was shown in the basement. Clarice Ludeman of East Wenatchee was the winner of a quilt raffle held in conjunction with the event.

Historical Association members Walt and Marilyn Gearhart said that the roughly 200 guests that attended the event came fairly evenly from when it started at 11 a.m. until it ended at 3 p.m. “That made it really nice,” Walt Gearhart said.

Marilyn Gearhart said that it was a joy to see so many friends and relatives. “It was just a lovely day,” she said.

 

Erica Clemenson of Fall City gives her daughter Frances the chance to ride in her grandparents' wheat truck. (Karen Larsen photo)

Erica Clemenson of Fall City gives her daughter Frances the chance to ride in her grandparents’ wheat truck. (Karen Larsen photo)

 

Maryann Mabbott, who grew up in Waterville, shows a program from the 1915 St. Paul's Church dedication. Mabbott recently found two programs among her parents' belongings and donated one to the Douglas Community Historical Association. (Karen Larsen photo)

Maryann Mabbott, who grew up in Waterville, shows a program from the 1915 St. Paul’s Church dedication. Mabbott recently found two programs among her parents’ belongings and donated one to the Douglas Community Historical Association. (Karen Larsen photo)

 

Judy (Viebrock) Pace with the truck that the she and her sisters had used to make an annual Fourth of July trail ride. (Karen Larsen photo)

Judy (Viebrock) Pace with the truck that the she and her sisters had used to make an annual Fourth of July trail ride. (Karen Larsen photo)

 

Longtime Waterville resident Lois Garrett has lunch with friends on the lawn of the Douglas Church during the centennial celebration. (Karen Larsen photo)

Longtime Waterville resident Lois Garrett has lunch with friends on the lawn of the Douglas Church during the centennial celebration. (Karen Larsen photo)