German Baptist Church at the Trails and Rails Museum
The German Baptist Church of the Brethren at the Trails and Rails Museum was built between 1899 and 1900. In the front of the church’s stage is the original baptism pool, however the addition on the west end included the baptistery behind the altar so that was used instead once the addition was completed. The church has been used by the Church of the Brethren and Church of Latter Day Saints. It was also used as a Kearney Baptist Temple for a short period of time. The church is still used for weddings today, although it is not used regularly for church services.
Backstory and Context
The Kearney Church of the Brethren was originally located at the corner of 18th Street and Avenue A, which is now the location of the Salvation Army building in Kearney. The congregation formally organized in 1898 in Kearney after breaking from the Wood River and South Loup congregations. It was built shortly after that with Ira C. Snavely as the first pastor. There is no longer a German Baptist Church in Kearney; after some decline in attendance, the congregation disbanded in 1963.
Steinmeyer, Helen “History of the Church of the Brethren of Buffalo County, Nebraska,” Buffalo Tales Vol 37, No 5. Kearney, Buffalo County Buffalo County Historical Society, September/October 2014.
Thompson Jr, Charles D. “Raising Citizens: The Old German Baptist Brethren and Community-Based Farming in the Virginia Blue Ridge,” Journal of Appalachian Studies, 11, Issues 1/2, April 2005, 182- 194.