McRae, Georgia in Telfair County grew as a railroad stop in the late 1800s and is named for one of its early Scottish settlers. As the population grew, several churches were established by the turn of the 20th century. First Baptist Church (above) is a large Gothic Revival brick building in the center of town. The group organized in 1880 and completed this building in the early 1900s. It was last renovated in the 1970s.
Nearby on College Street is a wooden Presbyterian church that was built in 1903.
The Homeland, Florida Heritage Park in southern Florida has a few historical buildings, including this church. Originally Bethel Methodist Church, the first building was completed in 1878 and this church replaced it in 1887. A wooden steeple was destroyed by a hurricane in 1946 and was replaced with the aluminum one here. The congregation held services until the 1970s and then the church was empty for a few years. In 1986 the building was moved to this park area and is used for community events and weddings.
Union Christian Church is part of the President Calvin Coolidge Historic Site in Plymouth, Vermont. The Village of Plymouth Notch has a few homes, this church, a schoolhouse, general store and cheese factory and is said to look basically unchanged since the early 19th century when Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th U.S. President.
The Greek Revivial church was built in 1840 and was initially a Congregational Church. Nearby is Plymouth Cemetery, which includes the graves of several generations of the Coolidge family, including the grave of the former president.
Built in 1813, the Old Round Church originally served as the town meeting hall and a place to worship for five Protestant denominations in Richmond, Vermont. I’m not sure if it’s the only 16 sided church in the country, but its uniqueness led to a listing on the National Register. By 1880, the church was turned over to the town of Richmond and has been used for town meetings community events and weddings ever since. It’s now looked after by the Richmond Historical Society.
Another church down the same road is the Universalist Unitarian Church. This building was completed in 1897 and served as a church until 1956. Then it served as part of a school and now is used as the town’s library.
English Church in Claremont, New Hampshire was built in 1773. It’s now known as Union Episcopal Church and is the state’s oldest building built exclusively for religious purposes. A member of the church arrived at the same time I did, and gave me a quick tour of the interior. The architecture is a rectangular frame and shows some of the major changes over time. You can see in the exterior shot that the side windows are different sizes with the smaller ones added in 1820. The tower was added in 1801. Upstairs you could view the pre-Revolutionary roof framing which is the largest still surviving in the state. More of the details of the construction and changes are in the National Register nomination form. There is also a large cemetery across the road with some interesting older grave markers from that early era.
Montgomery, Vermont is home to another covered bridge and at least two old churches. Kelton Hall, a Greek Revival building served as the Baptist church since around the time of the Civil War. It survives now as a center for the local arts.
The other, St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church is a Gothic Revival building built by 1835 and on the National Register of Historic Places. However, the church was already in decline before the turn of the century and by 1927, regular services were no longer held. The building was condemned in 1974 and purchased by the Montgomery Historical Society and now called Lawrence Pratt Memorial Hall.
When you visit Old West Church, there’s no doubt it’s a historic church when you walk through it. Built in 1825, it’s located in a rural area of northern Vermont. It’s a typical New England style building, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as “Colonial Survival”. As you enter the church, there is an organ in the vestibule and then you enter into the main seating area past two stoves that were added in 1831. There’s also an upstairs gallery. The building is essentially original, and there is no electricity even today. The church was owned by The Baptists, Universalists, Congregationalists, Christians, Free Will Baptists and Mthodists and was used for community meetings as well as church services. There is also a small cemetery behind the church.
Interior, Old West Church
Interior, Old West Church. The Message above the altar reads “Remove Not the Ancient Landmark Which Thy Fathers Have Set”.