The Fonda Arts Council saved a significant piece of history when it saved the disbanded First Presbyterian Church from being torn down.
The 1887 structure, located on Main Street, was purchased and now serves as a classroom. The Fonda Arts Center offers classes of all sorts, bringing together local and area people to participate and as a spot to showcase the talents of many.
The parishioners are pleased that the building, which holds so many memories for so many people, still stands and that it is being used - by people sharing their God-given talents.
President of the Fonda Arts Council is Annie Reiff, who has shared two of her beautiful stained glass creations. She and the rest of the council members are excited about all the possibilities that can take place there.
"We are truly delighted," she said. "There were no guarantees that this idea would work but it has and we're so pleased."
The surroundings are perfect - the small wooden church contains many stained glass windows in the area that once served as the sanctuary; a large glass window is in the front of the building.
The building came with the pews, the alter was removed making a nice stage area for musicians or acting groups - such as the speech students who have visited - to perform on, and tables and chairs were also left.
Currently, guitar lessons are being taught to those interested in learning and there is quite an interest.
The second Sunday of each month from 1-4 p.m. a guest artist is invited to the center and a musician provides music. On Sept. 14, guest artist will be Karen Ruddy of Emmetsburg and she will be showing her Vanician smalti mosaic. Music will be provided by kids from Palmer.
"We like to show how much talent is really here," Reiff said.
The Fonda Arts Center has been used by Sherry Wernimont, a member of the board, for an after school program entitled, "Tools for Life". Dog obedience classes have been held there as well.
"This place can be used for just about anything the community needs. We like it when someone shares ideas with what they want to see here," the president of the group said.
The Fonda Arts Center operates on donations. So far those taking part in classes and visiting during the special Sunday events have provided enough dollars to keep the building operational.
Another special event the Fonda Arts Center will be hosting is a special evening of wine and cheese tasting, Saturday, Sept. 20. The Little Swan Lake Winery, east of Estherville, will be introducing a selection of their fine wines, accompanied by selected cheeses, and Sherry Gustafson at the piano to complement the experience. Visitors can then relax to the music of Neil Diamond, performed by Fonda's Larry Heschke, featuring some of the jewels of the 1970s - "Love On The Rocks", "Play Me", "Song Sung Blue", "Sweet Caroline", and more.
Coffee, tea, and a taste of chocolate will send you on your way; a perfect finale to this enjoyable evening.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are limited; available at the First Community Bank of Fonda, or by calling (712) 830-3833.
The Fonda Arts Center is located at the northwest corner of Fourth and Main Streets in Fonda.