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Wreaths decorate the outside of the Calvinistic Methodist Church in Arvonia. The old schoolhouse sits just beyond, further up the hill.

The Arvonia Historic Preservation Society was awarded a $30,000 grant by the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Testamentary Trust to support the exterior historic restoration plan for the Arvonia Township Hall and Arvonia Calvinistic Methodist Church.

The award was announced Tuesday morning.  

“On behalf of the board of directors, and all of our volunteers, I would like to thank the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Testamentary Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee for its commitment to community roots and the importance of preserving these historic buildings for future generations, and incredible gratitude for their continued generosity to this geographical area for so many worthy charitable causes,” Susan Evans Atchison said. “This charitable gift brings us much closer to the funding needed to reach the goal of completed exterior preservation which is critically important in extending the life of preservation work already finalized in the interiors of these unique historic buildings.”

Arvonia Historic Preservation Society board member Mi'Chielle Cooper said the funding would go far in opening up opportunities with other programs. 

“This funding will open opportunities to direct other organizational fundraising toward Welsh-American historical programs, educational activities, and community events for members, supporters, visitors, and tourists researching and learning about their own individual Welsh heritage," she said. "It is important to our members to provide excellent, inventive programming to enrich the historical experience that our followers encounter during our annual events. We are grateful to the Jones Trust for supporting this passion and our mission of preserving the past for future generations to come.”

The Arvonia School, built in 1872, Calvinistic Methodist Church, built in 1883, and Arvonia Township Hall, built in 1916, are all listed separately on the Kansas Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

Arvonia was founded as a Welsh community in 1869.

Atchison commented that, “the timeliness of this grant award is incredible in that it will allow us to near the long journey toward completing the exterior restoration of these amazing structures just in time for us to host the 2023 North American Festival of Wales (NAFOW) attendees in a site tour during the 2023 NAFOW Convention.”

The Arvonia Historic Preservation Society board said it was thankful for the Jones Testamentary Trust's continual commitment "to paying it forward in our area communities."

All AHPS board members agree that this is a special honor to receive this grant because of the Jones brother’s connection to Arvonia, who were raised in a house behind the church and attended school and participated in activities at the township hall. Arvonia is proud that this is where their origin story and future legacy began. These Arvonia natives have created pathways to success for many organizations doing incredibly necessary charitable work in the surrounding area.

(1) comment

Aim_High

I remember as a kid camping at Melvern (1980's) my parents would always drag us to this little church on Sunday mornings... it was a very different type of sermon compared to the brainwashing type of "preacher says this" and "congregation responds that" planned out church services I was used to. It seemed like the people of Arvonia were friendlier or happier... and I'm happy they're getting their building fixed up.

And while I have nothing against this church, it would have been nicer to just enjoy the camping trips. None of our cousins or other family ever went, and by the time we'd get back from sitting there, they'd just be getting done waterskiing or tubing, and it was already time to make lunch, and then time to pack things up and get ready to leave. Sundays sucked.

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