Mt. Sterling United Methodist Church, Mt. Sterling, Van Buren County, Iowa

Update: As of August 2017, the church was still standing, based off of photos I found on-line. It looks like the church was active from 1900-1996. I also have updated the name of the church in February of 2020. The town of Mt. Sterling was officially disincorporated after 105 years of existence on April 11, 2012, less than a year before I photographed the church.

What is the story behind this church, in the tiny of hamlet of Mt. Sterling, just a few miles north of the Missouri border?


Where did the people go? Did they move away? Stop going to the church? All I know is that the beautiful church is slowly slipping away into oblivion. I’ve seen countless buildings such as this Gothic Revival church in my travels on the backroads around the United States, and I always am left wondering about its past, and what its future will be.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. What’s amazing to me is 1) how beautiful and ornate the stained glass windows are, and 2) how they are almost completely intact, with the exception of the one with the board over it.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      I agree, and I hope they remain intact and are not removed.

      1. Anne Marie says:

        I went to that church when I was a little girl in 1983. It was alive and well at that point. Thank you for posting. Its a wonderful memory ??Our town of Mount Sterling is very close to the Missouri border. Thank hope to be back someday

  2. Rhonda Morphis says:

    Yes, I was wondering if you have an update of the abandoned gothic revival church, in Mt. Sterling, Iowa?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Sorry, unfortunately, I have not been up that way recently. Did you grow up in Mt. Sterling?

  3. E says:

    Looks like the roof is fairly new, too. I came across this because I saw a black and white photo of it on an abandoned sites Facebook page and googled it because I wanted to see it in color!

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Was it a historic photo, or a current photo? Thank you! The newer roof could have dated to its final decade of occupation.

  4. Terri says:

    My husband and I drove by this church this afternoon. Its still intact but many of the stained glass windows are cracked or broken. Looks like it was a real beauty in its heyday.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Thanks for the update! I hope to get back by there someday.

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