ANDOVER -- "Uncle's Tom Cabin" and the Jenny Lind Chapel share illustrious places in history, and and now on film.|
The chapel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, served as a filming site for a "docudrama" titled "Sons and Daughters of Thunder" written by Kelly and Tammy Rundle, of Fourth Wall Films, of Moline.
The movie, set in 1834 at Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, depicts how Harriet Beecher Stowe was awakened to the horrors of slavery from shocking oratory she heard there. Ms. Stowe would go on to write "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
It's a book that "literally changes history," Mr. Rundle said.
The film is the Rundle couple's first narrative movie. Mr. Rundle directs and his wife is the producer.
The title refers to Mark 3:16-17, where Jesus appoints His 12 disciples and gave them the name "Boanerges," which translates to "Sons of Thunder," Mr. Rundle said.
Filming started at the chapel last month and was finalized over the Feb. 8-9 weekend.
The movie is slated for an early 2015 release.
Other local filming sites, in addition to the chapel, included Augustana College's House on the Hill, The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Rock Island and the Dillon Home Museum in Sterling.
While in Andover, cast and crew members also were allowed to use the Luther Hall at Augustana for rest and lunch breaks. Andover's village board fed them lunch on Feb. 8, and the Andover Tourism Council provided the on Feb. 9 meal.
"Upon learning of the film's story, which depicts the first public discussions of the abolition of slavery in the United States, the chapel board decided this would be a good use of the historic building," council chairman Ron Peterson said.
Anti-slavery history runs deep in the community, he said.
During the 1830s and 1840s, underground railroad sites were in several Andover homes and businesses, Mr. Peterson said.
"Andover's English settlers were very strong advocates of helping slaves flee to safe havens," he said. "When the Swedish immigrants began arriving in Andover in the 1840s, many of them also took up the cause of helping slaves on their way to freedom."
The chapel, just west of Augustana Lutheran Church, has been a treasured part of the community for more than 160 years, Mr. Peterson said.
Ms. Lind, a famous 19th Century opera singer known as the Swedish Nightingale and Generous Jenny, donated $1,500 to get the chapel project started, he said.
It was completed in 1854 and attracted thousands of Swedish immigrants to Andover, Mr. Peterson said.
It has hosted many special events, including worship services in Swedish and English, Sunday night Vespers in the summer, Christmas celebrations in December and countless weddings, but had not served as a filmmaking location until now.
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