NEW DOORS: The Mammoth Spring Garden Club has been instrumental in the restoration of the community auditorium, formerly St. Andrews Episcopal Church. They recently raised funds to buy new doors for the front of the building. Club members are from left: Sybil Smith, Ann ward, Glenda Pryor, Charlene Sparks and Rita Boenninghausen.
MAMMOTH SPRING -- The Mammoth Spring Garden Club has purchased two new front doors for the historic community auditorium in the city.
The doors cost $998. The restoration of the building has been a project of the garden club for more than 20 years. Restoration efforts began in 1984 with leftover money raised from the 1982 centennial. The local VFW post and the garden club joined forces to raise money to restore the building, but in recent years the garden club has led the restoration efforts.
The building is owned by the city. Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace said grants have been received to update the heating and cooling system in the building and last year a new roof was installed with grant funds.
The community auditorium, once St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, is located at Sixth and Main Street. The building is a simple design, a frame structure that displays the characteristics of gothic architecture of the 19th century. The building has vertical board-and-batten siding, a steep gable roof and pointed arch windows, all of which are fundamental features of the Gothic Revival.
Mammoth Spring was founded in 1883 when the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad came to the area. During this same time period the development of the Episcopalian congregation began in Thayer. Comprised mostly of railroad workers, Trinity Mission Church was founded in 1885 but dwindled until late 1886 when church services finally ceased.
During three years of travel in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, Dr. T.B. Lawson, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Missouri, visited Mammoth Spring. Soon after, arraignments were made for Dr. Lawson to hold regular service on Monday evenings at the Methodist meeting house.
The need for an established Episcopal church grew and St. Andrews was founded the Sunday before St. Andrew's Day at a service in the parlor of P.P.B. Hynson, former member of St. Paul's Parish Church in Batesville and publisher of the Mammoth Spring paper, The Monitor.
The founding group raised $300 for the erection of a chapel, and then in November 1887, the Mammoth Spring Improvement and Water and Power Company donated the land for a chapel and rectory. The new congregation requested a priest be shared between Mammoth Spring and the mission at West Plains. During construction of the chapel the congregation rented the Methodist Meeting House for one year as a temporary place of worship.
The cornerstone for St. Andrews was laid on Feb. 27, 1888, by Rev. Carol M. Davis. St. Andrews was admitted into the diocese on April 14 of the same year, and services in the new church began on June 10.
Sunday school followed on July 8 and Rev. R.S. James of Dardenelle, Ark.,was hired as the congregation's permanent priest.
The church was located on a wooded sloping lot and rested on a native stone foundation which formed a half basement.
The front facade features a double door entry above which are three pointed arch casement windows.
The interior of the church consists of one rectangular room with a wood floor and a raised altar platform at the north end.
Sometime around 1920 the church was moved one block south to its current location. The building's orientation was originally toward the north but changed to the south when it was moved, in order to face Main Street. Excluding the basement addition, the building has not undergone any architectural changes and its integrity is intact.
St. Andrews ceased to function as a church during the 1940s. It was purchased by the VFW post in 1949 to be used a a location for their meetings. The Mammoth Spring Jaycees purchased the structure in 1977, then donated it to the city of Mammoth Spring in 1994 for use as a community building.
The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was completely restored with donations of labor, money and memorial contributions. It is used for receptions, weddings and other events and meetings.