Restoring a memory: Sheryl Taylor is working to renovate historic Rose Creek church

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2021

When Sheryl Taylor was driving through Rose Creek in March 2020, she came upon an unexpected opportunity to preserve a part of the town’s history.

The LeRoy native recently purchased the former United Congregational Church at 101 First St. SE in Rose Creek with the hopes of renovating the building.

“The church was built in 1922 and it’ll be 100 years old next year,” she said.

But the purchase wasn’t simply just to restore the church. The building also holds a special significance to her family.

“My mother is from Rose Creek and she grew up going to this church,” Taylor said. “My parents got married in the church in 1952.”

Taylor’s mother and father passed away in Fall of 2019 after 67 years of marriage. Taylor was in the area and looking to move back when she learned the church was for sale.

“Right after my parents died, I was taking a drive down memory lane last March,” she recalled. “I learned the church was for sale and got in touch with the owner. He gave me a tour through the next day and we worked for about a year on getting me the acquisition.”

The building, which has not been used as a church since the late 80s, will require quite a bit of work.

“It was stagnant – it hadn’t been utilized other than as a storage unit for 30 years,” Taylor said. “I think there was a small craft shop in the mid-90s at some point. The water was not on, the electricity was not on, so I had to establish new electricity and get the water turned on. I’m in the process now of getting the framework built for a bathroom so I can get the plumbing in.”

Taylor said there is the possibility of getting the church named to the National Register of Historic Places, though she has not had a chance to begin the rather labor intensive process of applying to make it a historic landmark.

Taylor hopes to live in the renovated church, saying she wants it to be her “forever home.” At the same time, she also wants to allow community clubs and organizations to utilize the building as a meeting space.

“I’m hoping I can engage with the community and it can hopefully be enjoyed by other people within Rose Creek and the surrounding communities,” she said.

The goal is to have the renovation complete by June 15, 2022, which would have been her parents 70th wedding anniversary.

“It’s definitely something I’m doing in my parents’ memory,” Taylor said. “Bringing it back to life means a lot.”

“I’m also hoping I can give it back to the community by restoring the exterior of this historic gem,” she added. “I want them to be able to drive by and see the stained-glass windows and the beautiful church.”