Emporia Area Match Day

Latimer Lutheran Church Preservation Society

Goal: $15,000.00

Specific Need

We have many short- and long-term goals for the building itself. Goals relevant to Match Day support include but are not limited to the following:

Exterior Needs:

  • Restore or repair where necessary, the original windows, storm windows, window trim, and siding to as close of a match to the current original windows and siding as possible, thus maintaining the original architectural integrity of the church.
  • New gutters, downspouts, and underground piping to alleviate moisture issues in the church basement 
  • Repaint all exterior of the building.
  • Replace door and frame at rear of chapel
  • Repair and refinish handicap ramp.
  • Remove, replace, and recover the front steps leading to the main entrance of the church.
  • Considering replacing current front entrance door to what the original door looked like when the building was first moved to Latimer in 1949. 
  • Considering restoring the altar in the front of the Sanctuary of the church, to its original look in 1949.
  • Complete any other exterior work needing repair or replacement.

Interior Needs:

  • Assess and repair minor moisture issues in basement.
  • Establish a “history room” – Purchase glass cabinets, tables, and other materials needed to display historic and memorabilia items.

We've already had a restoration expert, Corey Thomas with Pishney Restoration Services (see website link below) in Olathe, KS, come to Latimer in April, 2022 to evaulate the interior and exterior needs of the building to restore it back to it's original beginings of serving as a Army Airbase Chapel.  We are currently waiting on his estimate of what he assessed that needs restoring/refurbishing on the building.  http://pishny.com/about-us.html 

Recently, we've had a couple of other companies come look at the church in July to offer bids also. One construction company came to the church and will be bidding on both the guttering, downspouts, and church basement window well work along with preparing a bid to remake the handicap ramp. 

A family-owned concrete and contracting company also visited the church during July and will be making a bid to restore the front steps leading into the church along with repairing a crack in the foundation. 

Anyone wishing to help our fund meet our goals to restore the building, are welcomed to make a donation directly using this link: https://www.emporiacf.org/donate.cfm?fid=2170#top-of-form

The Latimer Lutheran Church Preservation Society greatly appreciates any donation made and we thank you for your support!



To preserve the former Zion Lutheran Church located in Latimer, Kansas and its properties, share its history and local heritage with the surrounding community and public at large.

We are a brand new fund with the Emporia Community Foundation having just been approved in February, 2022. We are excited to help restore and preserve this building that has served the Latimer community for decades. Unfortunately, the church held it's last service the day after Christmas day, on December 26, 2021. But, our fund believes this building has a new purpose with a focus on getting it approved as a Kansas Historical Site this fall, and from there, working on obtaining status as a National Historic Site. 


The former Zion Lutheran Church was originally constructed onsite at the Herington Army Air Field in 1942 during WWII and served as a chapel for approximately 3 years. This airfield was a staging area for overseas deployment of heavy bombers and their crews. Per request of Eleanor Roosevelt, cantonments were to include a multi-denominational chapel designed to resemble the small county churches that dotted the countryside of our nation, to were to be a place of spiritual comfort for the soldiers. This church still retains most of its original chapel features and is an extraordinary example of a relatively intact WWII Series 800 cantonment chapel. A recent submittal to the Kansas Historical Society has determined that is potentially eligible for both the State and National Historic Register. A nomination form for these registers will be submitted soon.

A famous Kansan from Pilsen, Kansas, Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun, Medal of Honor recipient, and currently under process of canonization for Sainthood in the Catholic Church, was chaplain at the chapel (moved eventually to Latimer) while at Herington Army Air Field, and was a prisoner of war during the Korean War where he provided comfort and ministry to fellow prisoners. He died May 23, 1951 in a POW camp in North Korea. 

When the war ended, the Zion Lutheran Congregation of Latimer, established in 1910, purchased the church in 1946 and moved the chapel in one piece to the current location at 106 Main Street in Latimer. It was dedicated on May 1, 1949 and has since served as the Zion Lutheran Church for 72 years, until its closing on December 26, 2021.

Historically, it is an example of a German settlement community and of the 1861 Lutheran ministry expansion in central Kansas This church served the town of Latimer and the larger Clarks Creek Township area and was a focal point of the community, therefore holds many special memories with much local heritage and history with all the years of the activities and services that occurred and will continue to be a source of much genealogical information to the surrounding community. 



Photos & Videos

Match Day 2022
Latimer Lutheran Church History
Zion Lutheran Church Sanctuary
Zion Lutheran Church Sanctuary
Last church service held at Zion Lutheran Church, December 26, 2021
Last church service held at Zion Lutheran Church, December 26, 2021
Pilsen, Kansas native, Father Kapaun celebrating Mass at the church during WWII
Pilsen, Kansas native, Father Kapaun celebrating Mass at the church during WWII
WW II Regimental Chapel Drawing, circa 1940
WW II Regimental Chapel Drawing, circa 1940


23030 N 4TH ST
Osage City KS 66523
Phone: (785) 217-7414

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