- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

PERRY, Ill. (AP) - A 134-year-old church in western Illinois that was on the National Register of Historic Places burned down after it was struck by lightning.

Officials said the northwest corner of Church of Christ was hit by lightning, sparking a fire Wednesday evening. Volunteer firefighters from several neighboring towns attempted to fight the flames, but after about an hour their focus shifted to ensuring the fire didn’t spread.

“There was no hope of saving it,” Perry Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Martin said. “It was an old, wooden building with tall ceilings. The fire was in the attic, and it was not safe to put ladders against the sides. It’s gone.”

Fire departments in Perry, Griggsville, Pittsfield, Baylis, Versailles and Brown County responded to the blaze around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The church is in the small Pike County town of Perry, which has about 400 residents and is about 40 miles east of Quincy. The Quincy Herald-Whig (https://bit.ly/1CHhweO ) reports it had not been used for worship since 2003, but continued to hold special events.

“My family’s history was in the church,” said Kris Camphouse, who lives a couple of blocks away.

Her great-grandfather, John Dorsey, and his brothers were on the church’s building committee in the late 1870s.

Church of Christ, which was originally named Perry Christian Church, was built more than 130 years ago as part of the Christian Reform Movement. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August 2006.

“The church was very unique in its design,” Camphouse said. “Its Gothic revival style was not commonly found in wooden structures.”

The remnants of the church will be demolished.

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Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, https://www.whig.com

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