- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2021

NASHUA, Iowa (AP) - An historic church in the northeastern Iowa town of Nashua that has hosted thousands of weddings over the decades is getting much-needed renovations.

It’s been decades since the Little Brown Church in the Vale has seen any significant renovation work, the Courier reported. On Monday, crews began work to repair and improve the building’s foyer. Later in the spring, the church’s roof will be replaced.

“Wallpaper is staring to peel off the walls; the plaster and lath walls need work. You can see the cracks, and it’s getting worse,” the Rev. Drew McHolm said. “The congregation decided let’s do the inside and get it done, and get the roof done and leave a legacy for the next generation.”

The Little Brown Church ranks as a top Midwestern wedding destination and is U.S. landmark and tourist site. Built between 1860 and 1864, more than 76,000 couples have been married at the church, which is immortalized in The Statler Brothers’ 1995 song “The Church in the Wildwood.”

The goal is to restore the inside of the church to its original condition, including replastering walls where needed and treating woodwork and pews for preservation without damaging original patina, McHolm said.

The renovation and roof replacement are estimated to cost $100,000. Funds are being raised by the congregation and through the church’s Facebook page and website, McHolm said.

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