Wyneken House restoration progressing

Authored by Jim Langham on Jun 23, 2014

With over $200,000 of work, including many in kind contributions behind them, plus thousands of man hours or work, members of the Wyneken House restoration tour took a break this past weekend to showcase the work accomplished so far in restoring the parsonage of famed Lutheran minister/missionary pastor Friedrich Wyneken, who moved into the area in 1838.
“We decided to open the house to show the public what we have accomplished in the past few years,” said Kenneth Selking, chairman of the restoration committee. “We are continuously working on this house as we get donations. But we realize that although we have accomplished much, there is still much to do. We want more people to know about Wyneken,” Selking said.
Wyneken came to Indiana as a missionary pastor in 1838 to minister to the German Lutherans in the wilderness who had no religious attention in years. He traveled widely as a circuit rider, but also served as pastor for two congregations in Allen and Adams counties.
Selking credited several contributions by Paul and Carolyn Wolf for the ability to go on with the project.
“Paul and Carolyn Wolf have been real God-sends by their contributions,” Selking said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do any of the significant work that we have accomplished.”
Selking said that the latest projects have included the restoration of the front porch and the reconstruction of the original kitchen.
“We are convinced that what we have done here represents the original kitchen on the house,” Selking said. “We are pleased with the large number of people that have come to see this house this weekend.”
At least 200 visitors had passed through the house by late Sunday afternoon, not only to enjoy the renovation of the pioneer parsonage, but to enjoy the old German refreshments that were made available in the basement. In addition, a history room had been set up reflecting many of Wyneken’s historical and religious accomplishments.
Selking praised the efforts of area businesses and individuals who had donated toward the project. He noted that the house is not only important because of its significant religious contributions; he noted that the house is also a genuine pre-Civil War home, which is quite rare these days.
In addition to a representation of an early Lutheran presence in northeast Indiana, Selking said that it is the intention of committee members to see that the house be utilized as a teaching tool. He noted that more and more groups, including school groups, are seeking tours of the facility.
Other long term goals include researching and preserving the rich German-American heritage of Adams County, fostering respect for the past and create a sense of community pride and promoting the house through regular fundraisers that will attract visitors and generate sufficient funds to support the house.
Selking said that the house is so solid that it weighed 90 tons when it was moved from its original site close to Friedheim to its present site on Winchester Road.
“You never know when somebody is going to come forward with a donation,” said Selking. “When that happens, it is very gratifying to see who believes in this project. This not here because of us, it is happening because we are instruments of those who are donating toward the project. No donation is too small and none is too big.”

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