Beavertown Residents Sad Over Loss of Former Church

BEAVERTOWN -- People continue to take pictures at the former Beaver Lutheran Church in Beavertown. Most cannot believe the church that was built in the 1880s is now a pile of burned rubble.

"It's unbelievable," Marge Benfer said.

In 2000, Newswatch 16 stopped by the old church to spend time with the late Davy Jones of The Monkees. He bought the building in the 1990s and planned to make it into a museum and performing venue. After his death in 2012, one of his fans bought the old church and planned to carry on Davy's dream, until a fast-moving fire destroyed the old building.

"When you have a fire that starts and there's actual fire, it moves pretty quickly and especially if it gets air, it starts to go," Cole Kratzer said.

The church closed in the 1970s after a fire, but longtime Beavertown residents remember it fondly.

Paul Hassinger now lives in Middleburg but came back to see what's left for himself.

"Well, this has been pretty close to all the people in Beavertown. You have the three churches, the school, and then the cemetery," Hassinger said.

The three churches made a sort of a triangle on North Orange and Walnut Streets.

In the middle of all this is the Beavertown War Memorial, honoring those who served from this area. A small part of the memorial was damaged by the fire but otherwise, it was untouched.

People who live in Beavertown say the former Beaver Lutheran Church is just something they thought would always be there.

"I think it hits everybody pretty hard. People aren't connecting with it yet I don't think. It just has to take time I think. We can't believe it, we can't believe it," Hassinger said.

The property owner tells Newswatch 16 she still hopes to build a Davy Jones memorial at the site of the old church.