The Hildegard Center for the Arts, Nebraska Tourism Commission, and Nebraska State Historical Society recently invited residents to submit photographs capturing historic sites in all of the 93 counties of Nebraska for a photo contest. Representing Kearney County in the resulting statewide travelling Sesquicentennial Photo Exhibit will be a photo of Salem Methodist Church submitted by Kelly Rush originally of Axtell. The display is set to begin its tour in January 2017, but the historic church can be seen any time.
Located three miles west and one and a half mile south of Axtell, the Salem Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1882 by a group of Swedish immigrants. First meeting in a sod cathedral built as a community effort, a church, parsonage, and cemetery were established by 1884 on five acres of donated land. By 1898, the congregation had grown enough that a larger meeting space was needed and the current church building was erected in the late Victorian/Carpenter Gothic style. Over time, attendance fell until services were only held on a monthly basis. In 1972 the church officially closed and the few remaining members merged with First Methodist Church in Holdrege.
see July 6 Courier for full story