A giant jigsaw puzzle houses a national memorial

2 months 3 weeks 5 days ago February 02, 2017 Feb 2, 2017 Thursday, February 02 2017 Thursday, February 02, 2017 2:55:00 PM CST in News
By: Christina Salonikas and Emma Frazier, KOMU 8 Reporters
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FULTON - St. Mary's Aldermanbury is the only work of Sir Christopher Wren located in the United States.

The unique church, once located in the historic part of London, dates back to 1181.

Director of External Affairs and Chief Educator Mandy Plybon said, "During the fire of 1666, the church burnt to the ground. Sir Christopher Wren, who was an architect at the time, was commissioned to rebuild a bunch of the city buildings that had been burned during the great fire. St. Mary's was one of those buildings."

The reconstructed church stood for almost three more centuries before getting bombed by the Nazis in the London Blitz.

"It basically blew everything out except for the four main walls and most of the columns. Everything else was destroyed," Plybon said.

In 1955, the President of Westminster College, Dr. Robert Davidson, wanted to create a memorial in honor of Winston Churchill.

Davidson had a far-fetched dream of bringing a war torn church from London to the states. 

"They were looking through an issue of Life magazine that was all about these churches that had been hit and halfway destroyed from the war. They did some research, and St. Mary's fit the profile for the type of church, type of building they were looking for," Plybon said.

Davidson and others raised about two million dollars at that time to buy the church and bring it to Fulton.

Every stone and column was labeled prior to taking the remains apart for its journey overseas. The whole process took about five years to complete.

To this day, the original walls and columns remain. Any stones that were damaged in the shipping process have been rebuilt from the same "rock quarry that Sir Christopher Wren used back in the 1600s," Plybon said. 

Today, the church is part of the tour experience. It is open to museum goers who are visiting the National Churchill Museum. Westminster College also uses it for campus services throughout the year and people can rent the church for weddings and other services.

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