Shortly after the townsite of Chadron was selected on August 1, 1885, the Reverend Harmon Bross, a Congregational missionary, conducted the first worship service in the fledgling community. For a time services were held in the open air or in tents. On August 23, 1885, it was decided to organize a Congregational Church. Chadron's first church was built on this site in the fall of 1885. The total cost of the building and lot was $1775. The Congregational Church of Chadron was dedicated on Sunday, December 20, 1885, and stood here until 1959 when the new church was completed. The original building still serves another denomination as a chapel. The church's first regular minister was the Reverend G. J. Powell, who began his ministry in 1887. It was the Reverend Powell who led the effort to establish a Congregational academy in Chadron. The Chadron Academy operated from 1889-1910 when the land was acquired by the State of Nebraska for use as a normal school, today's Chadron State College.