Area families don’t have to go far to explore an important event in Cold War history. They can do it at the National Churchill Museum, in a former church that was brought piece by piece from England.
The National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Mo., is housed in the former Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbur, one of the oldest churches anywhere in the United States. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built after the Great Fire in 1666 destroyed a much-earlier medieval edifice, it served the needs of a London parish for three centuries until the Nazi Blitz in 1940.
Largely destroyed (the Portland stone walls remained standing) it stood in a ruinous state until British authorities developed plans for resurrecting London. While other churches were rebuilt or restored, St. Mary the Virgin remained a bombed-out ruin until its acquisition by Wesminster College in Fulton, historically a Presbyterian institution of higher education.
Fulton was where Sir Winston Churchill delivered his 1946 speech titled “Sinews of Peace.” Speaking at the invitation of President Harry Truman, the legendary wartime prime minister warned of the Soviet Union’s post-war expansionism and what later became the Cold War. Reopened on the Westminster campus in 1969, the church is part of the National Churchill Museum.
Located beneath of St. Mary the Virgin, the museum tells the story of Churchill’s fascinating life as a historian, journalist, politician, soldier and statesman. Then there is the church, which rivals any of the Wren churches in London. Outside on a plaza stands a sculpture by Edwina Sandys, a granddaughter of Churchill, made from eight sections of the Berlin Wall.
“Stay at the Loganberry Inn, a bed-and-breakfast and the best option in Fulton,” “The Christian Post: recommended. “You might even get the room where Margaret Thatcher once slept.”
Fulton is just south of Interstate 70 about 150 miles east of Kansas City. For more information, visit www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org.
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice