Big Buckhead Baptist

Big Buckhead Baptist Church, Jenkins County, Georgia
Big Buckhead Baptist Church, Jenkins County, Georgia

 

One of the oldest Baptist churches in Georgia, Big Buckhead Baptist is located in a remote section of southern Georgia.  Although the church was organized circa 1774, the Greek Revival building was built in 1845 and is the fourth church built on the site.  It’s also another Georgia church building with the separate entrances for men and women. Supposedly inside there are hoof marks on some of the pews made when the wood was used to help Confederate cavalry cross a nearby creek.  On the couple occasions I’ve stopped by, the church was locked so I wasn’t able to confirm that story.  There is also a small cemetery across the road surrounded and partially hidden by trees.  And just a few hundred yards down the road was the Carswell Grove Baptist Church mentioned in an earlier post.

 

Cataloochee Palmer Chapel

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Palmer Chapel Methodist Church served the Cataloochee Valley in western North Carolina prior to becoming part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It was built in 1898.  Just north of the chapel is the Palmer Cemetery with graves scattered up a steep slope.  Grave markers here are dated in the mid 1800s through 1929.

 

 

Friedens United Church of Christ

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Friedens United Church of Christ, Sumneytown, Pennsylvania

This church is located in Sumneytown in eastern Pennsylvania.  Frieden is German for “peace” and the German speaking Lutherans in the area organized the church in 1857.  Its history shows that it served both the Lutheran and German Reformed congregations until 1957.  The Lutherans moved to a separate location (not sure if there’s a story there?) and the German Reformed side merged with the Congregational Church to form the UCC.  It’s still in use, but was locked up the couple of times I’ve stopped by, so I’ve not seen the inside.

The cemetery that surrounds the church is in good shape, though the oldest markers near the church lean precariously as you can see in the feature photo above.

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Wolf Butte Lutheran

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church,  Wolf Butte, North Dakota (Adams County), 1913
Wolf Butte Lutheran Church, Wolf Butte, North Dakota (Adams County), 1913

This past summer I drove a lot of miles through the Dakotas in a little over a week.  I added over 40 churches to the project and one of my favorites was Wolf Butte Lutheran Church.  It had a lot of what I look for – it was abandoned, weathered, and isolated.

Wolfe Butte last had regular services nearly 30 years ago (1988).  It was built in 1909 and stands large on the prairie surrounded by farmland.  There’s also a small cemetery to the side of the church.nd_wolfbutte15

Salem Black River Presbyterian

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Salem Black River Presbyterian Church, Mayesville, South Carolina

Usually I skip a brick church.  But this large Greek Revival church was hard to pass by.  I had just started taking photos one morning when a large pickup truck pulled in behind me to ask what I was doing.  Turned out that the man stopping was a local judge and a caretaker of the historic church which had suffered some recent vandalism.  So after I held up my camera, he generously offered a tour of the closed up building.  Over the next forty-five minutes I learned quite a bit of history.

Salem Black River Presbyterian Church (sometimes called “Brick Church”), near Mayesville, was the first brick church in South Carolina.  That building, built in 1802, was replaced with the present structure in 1846.  When Sherman’s army marched towards the sea, they destroyed most churches, but missed this one by only a few miles.

A slave gallery extends along three sides of the church and boxed pews divide the ground floor into four sections. A few years before this structure was built, church records show 42 white members and 118 black.  After emancipation, the former slaves formed nearby Goodwill Presbyterian Church in 1867.  There is also a well maintained cemetery behind the church that has a reputation for being haunted, with graves dating back to 1794.   According to my guide that morning, it’s the reason for a lot of the vandalism from late night ghost hunters.  Services are still held at the church twice per month.

Hopewell Baptist

Hopewell Baptist Church, Jasper County, Georgia
Hopewell Baptist Church, Jasper County, Georgia

This small church was an early stop in the project.  Located not far from Atlanta, it wasn’t too hard to find on that dreary winter day.  The church was organized in 1847 by a plantation owner from North Carolina named Samuel Hunt and some others.  Samuel was a sheriff in Jasper County at various times and also was in the state legislature in the 1850’s.  He’s buried in the small cemetery to the right of the church.

The view straight on is my favorite in that it features the diamond vent and the separate entrance doors for men and women.  Except for the occasional car passing, the only sounds while stopping here were the echoes of crows calling from the trees surrounding this little abandoned church.