Mary Penrose Wayne Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter will present the Historic Preservation Award to Prairie Grove Chapel and Cemetery Association on Wednesday, October 25th at 6312 Old Trail Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Historic Preservation Recognition Award is a national award that recognizes and honors an individual or group that has done remarkable volunteer work at the community level.
The Prairie Grove Cemetery Association was organized in April of 1899 “for the purpose of caring for the cemetery.” On March 26, 2008, a fire was set in the rear of the church. The blaze caused heavy fire damage to the interior of the building. Volunteers stepped forward and the chapel was restored and preserved to its original design. Since 2008, its historic preservation has been maintained by this group of dedicated community volunteers.
The church and cemetery have had a significant role in the history of Waynedale. The Prairie Grove Chapel & Cemetery is associated with the settlement history of rural Wayne Township. The intent was to place churches that would be serviced by a circuit rider that served several rural congregations. At the time the location was on a major highway. This was advantageous for both access to the church from the rural area and ease of access for circuit ridge preachers.
In August of 1858, seven years before the American Civil War, the first plat of the cemetery was recorded. The preliminary sketch done in 1858 included the chapel in its current location. It also showed the Richardville Reserve line and the plank road.
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