If people driving off Highway 9 toward Estherville Golf Course didn't notice Grandview Baptist Church before, they certainly will now.
Especially the 20-foot cross.
A memorial to the late Bill Ellis, Sr., the cross was erected in the wee hours of the morning a week ago Tuesday. And how it got there is a whole different story.
Walter Hovatter stands beside the cross he made in memory of his late father-in-law, Bill Ellis Sr. The cross was lifted into place a week ago at Grandview Baptist Church.
Walter Hovatter, Ellis' son-in-law, a machinist by trade, designed and built the 20-foot cross in memory of his late father-in law. Memorials to the Ellis family and money from congregation members helped pay for the $5,000 in materials for the 2,600-pound cross that has a four-foot base. Eventually the cross will be lit at night, making it visible all the time.
According to Grandview Pastor Joel Jorgenson, the cross is constructed from steel tubing on the inside with stainless steel and aluminum on the outside. While Hovatter did not charge anything at all for making it, Jorgenson estimates the actual cost would have been $35,000 if labor had been charged.
"Every ounce of labor has been donated," said Jorgenson, noting that Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative bored the hole, parishioner Chuck Gardner helped with the crane work and parishioners helped with the erection.
Parishioner Dennis Lukins, who works for the City of Estherville electrical department, made contact with JLK Underground Utilities of Sturgeon Lake, Minn. which put electrical conduit in from the church to the cross - at no charge.
"All we had to pay for were the materials. God was very generous to us," Jorgenson said.
Jorgenson said Ellis had talked about erecting the cross for 10 years.
But getting it there was yet another story.
Hovatter left his home in Pagosa Springs, Colo., 6:30 a.m. a week Friday and arrived the next Saturday noon. Jorgenson said 26,000 pounds of concrete was poured as a base. The cross was dedicated a week ago Sunday before being lifted into place 1:45 a.m. last Tuesday.
Jorgenson said people have certainly noticed, including a group of out-of-towners who stopped to have their picture taken by it.
Jorgenson said Hovatter will return in October to put rock around the base.