Miller resident is turning 124-year-old church into her dream house

Kelly C. Gamble


Tucked away in Miller, about 30 miles west of Springfield, is a plot of land that two decades ago transferred possession for the initially time since 1898.

A 124-year-previous former United Methodist church sits on the land, and 29-12 months-aged Samantha Whittaker (a Miller indigenous) took in excess of the deed in 2020. After a location of worship, the construction is in the method of starting to be Whittaker’s desire dwelling.

Flashback two many years ago, throughout COVID-19 keep-at-home orders. The next week of lockdown, Whittaker resolved to shift back in with her mom and dad, who live in Miller. All through a walk with her moms and dads close to city, Whittaker inquired about the United Methodist Church setting up, positioned at 102 S. Hobbs St. She realized that the church shut in 2019 thanks to minimal attendance, which is when the notion struck her.

Initially, Whittaker was pursuing her “pipe dream” of opening a restaurant in Miller.

“I had a business system and was receiving ready to protected funding for opening a restaurant in my hometown, and some thing instructed me to hold off to see what we could do with the church, no matter whether that was a cafe or some thing else,” Whittaker reported.

So the approach of exploring “how to get a church” started.

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Whittaker, who operates for the Alzheimer’s Association, explained one of her co-workers is married to a United Methodist minister, who pointed her in the right path.

She acquired in contact with the Southwest District Office environment of the United Methodist Church in Joplin. The denomination welcomed her to take a seem at the inside of the making. The only dilemma: No a person experienced a key.

“I called and they claimed, ‘Yeah, go forward and look at it. You can expect to have to split in but go in advance,'” Whittaker recalled.

Samantha Whittaker bought a former United Methodist Church in Miller, Mo. and has been renovating it into her home for the past year.

Samantha Whittaker bought a former United Methodist Church in Miller, Mo. and has been renovating it into her house for the earlier yr.

Finding into the church could have taken some time (she employed a debit card to unlock one particular of the doorways), but it did not take long for Whittaker to make up her head. She started to chat with the denomination about cost.

“When we begun, they ended up close to $30,000, and really since I was regional and what I wished to do, we ended up at $15,000, then I in the long run compensated $2,000,” she said. “We satisfied at the courthouse, signed the deed in excess of and I wrote them a check.”

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In November 2020, Whittaker grew to become a “property owner” of the 3,400-square-foot church, which came entirely furnished.

Whittaker kept two pews and offered the rest, many to Miller residents. In addition, the kitchen was absolutely stocked. Whittaker described herself as a vintage dishes collector, so she saved a lot of the authentic dining ware from the 1800s, adequate to provide 35 men and women. She also saved the piano.

Right before renovations could commence, Whittaker measured “each inch” of the creating, drew up ideas for her dream home and place it all alongside one another in a drafting software package she obtained.

“I have a diploma in agriculture from Mizzou, I get the job done in non-earnings development and fundraising, so I have no practical experience (building floor designs),” Whittaker explained. “I just generally preferred it and was also meticulous in terms of measurements and trial and mistake. I just did it, and I could not even explain to you how.”

When renovations began in spring 2021, Whittaker hired experts to support with building and the updating of plumbing and HVAC. As of early April, two walls have been added and the church’s inside has been repainted. In the coming months, cupboards and new flooring will be put in, alongside with the completion of the bogs.

As for the exterior, some doorways have been shut and home windows moved, but for the most element, it will remain the same. Whittaker said she nonetheless desires the building to glance and sense like a church.

“When you are going to change a church into a property, I imagine it can be remarkable to maintain the integrity that any one and every person is welcome there,” she claimed. “I want people today to know that and have that place to do that.”

With development transferring alongside, Whittaker isn’t the only just one enthusiastic about the remodel.

“The city has actually rallied all around me,” she reported. “The community is really energized about viewing an aged constructing, that was in all probability going to sit there and rot and drop down, come across new daily life and new function. I assume that is normally fun, in particular in a little, rural farm city.”

As soon as renovations are full, the church will be a 3-bed room, two-toilet household. Whittaker reported although she is aware not all of the ending touches will be entire, she hopes to transfer in by Memorial Working day weekend.

Greta Cross is the trending topics reporter for the Springfield News-Chief. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @gretacrossphoto. Tale notion? E mail her at [email protected]

This write-up at first appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Miller resident is turning 124-calendar year-previous church into her aspiration household


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