Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The church at Heritage Village gets a new look


The Village Church in Montcalm Heritage Village recently got a facelift.

A replica of early churches built in the area, construction of the church was completed in July 2005 in Heritage Village on Montcalm Community College’s Sidney campus. Last month, vinyl siding was installed to replace the original wood siding. The work was completed by A.E. Brown Construction of Carson City, which also completed the foundation, framework and roof of the building in 2004. At the time, Heritage Village Committee members Tom Learmont, Jessie Fox and Nancy Fox were instrumental in designing and building the structure after the committee was unable to find a historic church to move to the site.

Montcalm Heritage Village Committee President Shannon Kilduff said the group has struggled with the exterior finish since the building was constructed.

“It needed siding because the paint never did stick well to the building. Although it was new construction, for whatever reason it was peeling every year and we had volunteers scraping and painting it each year as general maintenance,” she said.

The committee had set aside money in its budget for the work and was awarded a 50-percent matching grant for up to $5,000 from the MCC Foundation to help pay for the project.

Lisa Lund, Executive Director for Institutional Advancement and the MCC Foundation said the project was a great opportunity for the Foundation to collaborate with the volunteer organization to enhance this unique learning venue.

“Heritage Village provides education about Montcalm County’s history and is located on the college’s Sidney campus,” Lund said. “When the MCC Foundation was approached about providing matching funds for this project, we felt that it was something we could support through the MCCF Ash College Community Enhancement Fund, which allocates funding to support teaching and learning initiatives.

“The Foundation has supported similar Heritage Village preservation projects before. Residing the church was determined to be a pressing need, and we feel completion of this project will enable our community to enjoy and experience the building as part of the village experience for years to come,” she added.

With 28 structures in the village, Kilduff said the committee is committed to preserving local history.

“We do school tours and I think it’s essential that those tours continue so the kids know where their ancestors came from and what life was like back in that period of time,” Kilduff said.

“It’s hands-on learning and brings it more to life for them,” she added.

The committee has done similar maintenance on other buildings, including the Gaffield School, the Township Hall and the General Store.

The next large-scale project will be resetting the tracks near the McBrides Depot, which features a steam engine, coal car and caboose on display.

“This will be a big project because it requires moving the train off the tracks, fixing the trail bed and tracks and moving it all back into place,” Kilduff said.

The Montcalm Heritage Village Committee is comprised of volunteer members who conduct various fundraisers throughout the year to support projects.

For more information about Montcalm Heritage Village, visit