One by one, they filed out of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
For the last time.
St. Paul’s closed its doors for good after an early Sunday morning service, ending its 178-year footprint in Northeast Missouri that dated to almost a quarter of a century before the Civil War.
A turnout of about 50 arrived on a bitterly cold February morning to bid adieu to the familiar limestone church building that occupies the northwest corner of Olive and Lane streets.
Those who were there Sunday were mostly members of the community who were invited, plus parishioners from sister church Trinity Episcopal in Hannibal. Many items from St. Paul’s have already been transferred to the Hannibal church.
St. Paul’s congregation was down to four elderly members, including Herbert Lucke, who will be 102 in May
“I knew this day was coming,” Lucke said. “There just isn’t nobody there anymore.”
Lucke, who felt Sunday’s final gathering was comparable to a “funeral,” said there had been no actual services at the church “for years.” Those members who were left, plus others, would occasionally take turns meeting in private homes.