Samtec Cares recently notified the Community Foundation of Crawford County (CFCC) that it
would receive a $20,000 grant to help restore the Marengo Big Springs Old Town Church’s
foundation through the Friends of the Marengo Big Springs Old Town Church (Friends). Phase
one of the project is expected to cost around $75,000, of which most of the funds will be used
for foundation stabilization. The Friends of Marengo Big Springs Old Town Church was started
by Dave and Pam Poe who subsequently added other board members: Wayne Larimore, Jerry
Hanger, John and Lori Key, Kelli Shelton-Slaughterback, and Kaci Hendricks.
This building was built in 1858. Oral history reports that a previous log cabin church burned
down in 1826. That building was also used as Marengo’s first school. The land purchase date
goes back even further.
The CFCC entered into a fundraising arrangement on behalf of the Friends by creating a special
project fund. This fund affords donors the ability to make tax-deductible donations and requires
expenditure confirmation of those funds. This then enabled the CFCC to apply for the grant
from Samtec Cares and this will benefit all parties, especially the Church itself. So many have
tried to help the Church in the past. Various sizes of small donations helped with paint, or
caulking, or insurance, but the renovations needed now are very significant. “The Church is in
dire need of repair. It is a church building rich in history and culture and worthy of the extra
effort needed to restore it. The CFCC is happy to help with this project,” said Christine
Harbeson, executive director.
The Samtec Cares grant will be mingled with more than $17,000 raised so far through the
combined efforts of the Friends, the CFCC, and Marengo High School Alumni. A single entity or
group would likely not be enough to raise what is needed. This Samtec Cares grant will certainly
speed up the process and will serve the entire county of Crawford in the coming years.
Prior to applying for the grant, a preliminary architectural and engineering assessment of the
the structure was completed and the Friends are currently working on a design for badly needed
Plans for this building include complete restoration, historical marker, educational
programming and perhaps even an archaeological dig or official historian to record the long
faith-filled history of this building so it can be shared with all who travel here. It is the hope of
all involved that this Church building will give homage to our ancestors and will invite people
from all over the United States to tour the facility, learn the stories, and spend time in Crawford
County while visiting other important sites.
To give to this important project, send your tax-deductible donation to
Friends of the Marengo Big Springs Old Town Church
4030 E. Goodman Ridge Rd.
Box D, Marengo, IN 47140.
To give online, for stock or other types of insolvent donations, please contact Christine
Harbeson, executive director at (812) 365-2900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CFCC was founded in April 1998 by a volunteer Board of Directors that represented a
variety of interests from Crawford County. To date, the CFCC has awarded nearly $8 million in
grants for programs/projects supporting Crawford County youth, education, housing, health
and human services, the environment, technology advancements, literacy, and the arts, and has
awarded well over $2 million in scholarships benefiting Crawford County students. The CFCC
currently manages more than 80 charitable endowment funds on behalf of families, individuals,
corporations, and non-profits. To see CFCC updates, like them on Facebook at CFCC4Ever.