March 10, 1898: In spite of bad weather, worshippers flocked to Perry’s hastily erected, cavernous tabernacle on the corner of Third and Bateman. The event was the first of almost a month-long series of evangelical meetings by the famous Rev. Billy Sunday, who had been invited to town by the town’s Congregationalist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Christian, and Baptist churches.
As the weather improved, so did the crowds, surging to 1,500 by the month’s end.
“Reverend Sunday’s sermons hit sin hard, knocked the props from the complacent . . and were calculated to separate the sheep from the goats,” writes Marjorie Patterson in A Town Called Perry.
A few days after Rev. Sunday left town, the tabernacle was demolished.