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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Benjamin Chapel and Richwoods Cemetery
Reference Number 15000746
State Iowa
County Henry
Town Trenton
Street Address 1936 Franklin Avenue
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 10/23/2015
Areas of Significance Architecture, Social History
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"Benjamin Chapel and Richwoods Cemetery is nominated at the local level of significance for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its significance within the social history of Henry County and under Criterion C for its architectural significance. Benjamin Chapel and the associated Richwoods Cemetery are significant within the social history of the township, specifically this area known as the ""Richwoods"" community or neighborhood. Rural churches once dotted townships throughout Henry County, and they served as the centers of activities for rural neighborhoods throughout the county. Benjamin Chapel served this role as a Methodist Protestant church originally, continuing to serve as a community church for the Richwoods neighborhood into the 1950s. This church is the oldest extant rural church on its original site in Henry County. The Richwoods Cemetery associated with the church reflects burials for members of the congregation as well as residents of the rural neighborhood, including those that lived here when they died and others that returned to be buried with family. Additionally, Benjamin Chapel is significant for its architecture, specifically the design of the fayade with two separate entries. While this two-door church type was utilized for at least nine other Henry County churches from the 1840s to 1870s, Benjamin Chapel is the only church of this type that remains on its original site. The period of significance spans from the construction of the church in 1877 to through the continued usage of the cemetery by the Richwoods community in 1965, the 50 year cutoff date per National Register standards. Significant dates include the construction of the church in 1877, expansion of the cemetery in 1882 and 1910, and sale of the church to the Benjamin Chapel Association in 1921. The period of significance may be extended in the future to include the initial restoration work in 1974, with this as a significant date in the history of the property. Benjamin Chapel meets Criterion Consideration A for churches as it derives its significance from its architecture and the social history of Trenton Township. The property does not need to meet Criterion Consideration D, as the cemetery is included as part of the overall church property."

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria