‘Cathedrals Among the Cornfields’ is feature at July 15 Genealogical Society meeting

Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm

The Northwest Iowa Genealogical Society will meet Saturday, July 15 at 1:30 p.m.

This month’s guest speaker, author Marilyn Schirck Setzler, will give a presentation on her book “Cathedrals Among the Cornfields.”

The event, free and open to the public, will be held in the Old Central Gym lobby at the Plymouth County Historical Museum, 335 First Avenue SW in Le Mars.

Schirck Setzler’s book features historic churches in Carroll County, Iowa. Her prose chronicles the construction of these venerable buildings by the area’s early religious groups. Stunning photos of simple wood frame, as well as soaring brick houses of worship, accompany each account.

The oldest structure featured is the First Presbyterian Church of Arcadia, built in 1879.

One of the most interesting, Trinity Episcopal Church, is the oldest church in the city of Carroll. Built in 1886, its exterior and interior bear a strong resemblance to St. George’s Episcopal Church in Le Mars. Like St. George’s, Trinity Church traces its history to the Church of England.

An exemplary shot of the steeple of Willey’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church lording over the surrounding cornfields graces the book’s paper jacket. The chapter on that church reveals its magnificent alters and stained glass windows, as well as a fascinating history of the church grounds.

Those attending the talk will be interested in knowing that former Le Mars All Saints Parish pastor Rev. Kevin Richter is now pastor for a number of Carroll County parishes, including that of Willey.

Growing up on a farm east of the city of Carroll, Shirck Setzler graduated from Kuemper High in 1961, and then Sioux City’s Morningside College in 1966. Earning her degree in music education with a minor in library science, she soon began a 33-year career as an elementary school librarian in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

After the death of her husband, she moved back to Carroll where she served as curator for the Carroll Historical Society Museum for some time. She conceived the idea for the book about the county’s churches while writing her first book, “This Place Called Carroll County, Iowa.” She then enlisted photographer Marie Baumhover, who shot the photos for that work, to capture the majesty of noteworthy places of worship.

At Saturday’s presentation, Shirck Setzler will display her books and talk about her research journey.

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