The village of Paplin no longer exists, but the Paplin church still stands and is surrounded with history.
Renee Jonak says she went to the church, and was baptized there. "My dad even boarded in the school that used to be here," Jonak said. The area surrounding the Paplin church used to be a town. The church itself was built in 1882, and finished in 1883. The church has dual steeples, and plenty of artwork inside. "To me it's a church," Jonak said. "I go to a lot of churches. These modern ones, it doesn't feel like a church to me. But this does, with the statues, and the stained glass windows."
There is quite a bit of red coloring on the floor and on the altar, which is different and unique. "We had a priest from Yugoslavia here, and he loved red. So, it was his idea to use that color," Jonak said.
The church itself has seen plenty of good and bad times. There was a diphtheria outbreak in 1892, and about 100 children from the parish died. "There were no doctors or hospitals here," Jonak said. "In some families between 1 to 6 children died from one family. They are all buried in the lower part of the west side of the cemetery in unmarked graves." Jonak says many people believe a miracle happened at the church, too. "In 1888, a tornado hit this area. It moved the church a foot and a half off it's foundation. Parishioners had a meeting, and decided to rebuild a new foundation. But then a wind from the opposite direction came and pushed the church back on it's foundation, and it's on that right now. Many people call that a miracle," Jonak said.
The church is no longer used as a church for services, but it is occasionally used for weddings or gatherings. Supporters are hoping to raise more funding to keep the church preserved for years to come. There is a group called "Friends of Paplin", and there is a "Friends of Paplin" Facebook page and web page where you can donate money to the effort to repair, restore, and preserve the Paplin church property.
Go to friendsofpaplin.com for more information.