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stull church

Evangelical Church of Stull

Location Class:
Built: 1867 | Abandoned: 1922
Status: DemolishedBurned Down
Photojournalist: Drew Roberts

Dating back over 140 years the infamous Stull Church got its start. Erected in 1867 under the efforts and direction of Rev. D.R. Zellner and Rev. C. Berner. After raising the needed funds, the settlers of the town began constructing what would be called the Evangelical Emmanuel and Deer Creek Mission. Along with the Stull Cemetery that would reside on the grounds with it. Made of nearby quarried stone, it was a small structure but fit the congregation of families living nearby at Deer Creek. Later it became known simply as the Evangelical Church of Stull amongst a few other similar names.

Being as the majority of the congregation were German immigrants the sermons were taught fully in German up until about 1908. It can be assumed that this change was made as the population of Stull continued to grow. Sunday School was held in the building as well for the children to teach them about the further workings of religion. In 1919 it was decided that a new church would be built across the street to better accommodate the growing congregation. For the time being, they continued to reside in this building until it was completed in 1922 when they abandoned this facility and moved all operations across the street.

For decades, the quiet town of Stull and its abandoned church were unbothered. That was until around the mid-1970s when a story was published by the University Daily Kansan newspaper about the Stull Cemetery and abandoned Evangelical Church of Stull claiming the Devil visited the cemetery twice a year. It didn’t take long for others to take those rumors and run with it claiming the church was one of the seven gateways to hell. Others fueled the claims by saying Stull’s mayor haunted the church from when he was killed back in the 1850s. Stull was never organized as a town, so therefore it never had a mayor making these claims false. Most academics, historians, and local residents are in agreement that the legends have no basis in historical fact and were created and spread by students, ghost hunters and those looking to stir up trouble.

Here at the Abandoned Atlas Foundation, we understand the fascination with abandoned buildings we share that with viewers. But we also strive to educate those that may unknowingly be harming these buildings by spreading false stories of paranormal happening, vandalizing and trespassing. The Stull Church is a prime example and one that we see far too often of just how much damage spreading these stories can impact a property. Because of the constant vandalism and trespassing of people the cemetery has experience dozens of broken tombstones and destruction of gravesites. The church was riddled with graffiti and now torn down to keep further people from coming out. We understand in the moment you might think a ghost story here and there won’t do much but more often times than not it attracts a crowd with no good intentions for an abandoned building and it goes downhill from there. So if you are fascinated in abandoned buildings I encourage you to express that interest through photography, research, reaching out to people with memories there.

Evangelical Church of Stull
Thad Allender/Journal-World Photo
Stull Church demolished 2002

Sadly, in March 2002 the Stull Church was mysteriously knocked down. The owners of the property claim they had no idea what happened or who did it. However, it seems as though they may have finally gotten tired enough of the urban legend, ghost hunters, vandals, and Satanists wandering onto the property wreaking havoc. Regardless of the legends that surrounded the church and the town of Stull it is all myth. The stories of hauntings and portals to hell on the property have no substance and are merely tales of teenagers.

Patrolled by the Douglas County Sheriff. Trespassing of the cemetery will result in a fine of $500 or up to 6 months in jail!

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Emily Cowan

Emily is a two-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" and "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World". With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

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David Boyer
David Boyer
1 year ago

That is exactly as I remember it in the late 70’s/Early 80’s. Our Boy Scout Troop 198 Big Springs, used to mow the two Stull cemeteries to raise funds for camping. Too bad it is gone now.

Drew Roberts
Drew Roberts
1 year ago

Awesome article, and even more info than I knew! Thank you for using my pictures (taken in 1998). They finally served a more useful purpose than gathering dust in my collection. 😉 I have read, though that around 1922 or 23 lightning struck the church and it burned it out to just the limestone shell. This is what prompted a new church to be built, and the remains of this one just left as-was. Other “evil” rumors were so wild that they claimed there were these stairs leading down into what appeared to be nothing…the ground. But, if you were… Read more »

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