BEGINNING

Watertown Christian Church began in March of 1890 as a group of Christians meeting in the Beatty Schoolhouse near Elrod in Clark County of northeastern South Dakota.  Elrod was a rapidly growing area during this time since it was on the stagecoach route between the town of Clark and Watertown.  By 1893, land had been secured and pledges for $450 had been raised to build a little church on the prairie four miles south of Elrod, and this original building remains standing today.  The photo above was taken on Children's Day in one of these very early years.  Unusual for that period was the plotting of the cemetery next to the church building (most other area graveyards were plotted 30-40 years later).  South Elrod Cemetery is still in use.  Services continued at South Elrod Christian Church for 73 years until 1966.

MOVING ON

The population of the Elrod area started decreasing with the onslaught of the Great Depression and continued with people moving out of rural areas to cities.  The few remaining members of South Elrod Church felt they should move the congregation to Watertown to reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So a vacant building was purchased on South Lake Drive along Lake Kampeska, and South Lake Church of Christ was formed.  Over the years, extensive renovations were made on this building, and a house across the road was purchased to serve as a parsonage.


By 1990, members felt they needed a building that looked more like a church, had more room for classes and was in a more visible location for the town.  So the current site off Golf Course Road was purchased and a new building constructed on a hill overlooking the airport runway.  Since it was no longer located on South Lake Drive, the name was eventually changed to Watertown Christian Church.