Tag Archives: Churches of Decatur County GA

First United Methodist Church, 1908, Bainbridge

According to Bainbridge First United Methodist Church, the congregation was granted land on this site in 1830 and in 1840 their first church home, a ‘log house’ was constructed. A more formal frame structure was built in 1854 and used until the 1890s. A brick church, the first in Bainbridge, was dedicated in 1899, but was destroyed by fire in 1906. The present Romanesque Revival structure was completed in 1908 and dedicated in 1911.

Bainbridge Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Mt. Zion A. M. E. Church, Decatur County

This church doesn’t appear to be in use at the present time, perhaps due to damage to the grounds by Hurricane Michael. Though I’ve not located any history for the congregation, I did discover this 1970 photograph by the late Paul Kwilecki.

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Moses Chapel, Circa 1904, Decatur County

Very little history can be found regarding this extraordinary vernacular church, which I first learned of through Historic Rural Churches of Georgia. My presumption was that it served an African-American congregation, largely due to the similarity of its architecture to other examples, and this has been confirmed through the index of a rare book by Paul Kwilecki, thanks to Wenda Gaile Bailey.

Tax records date the structure to 1904, but again, this may not be accurate. The style is a vernacular interpretation of one common around the turn of the last century, particularly among African-American congregations.

It has been noted that the congregation dates to 1836, but this is highly unlikely for an African-American congregation, considering such spaces were not legal in antebellum Georgia.

I personally believe the congregation served laborers in the turpentine industry.

The late photographer Paul Kwilecki, a native of Decatur County who photographed the church in 1982, notes that it was moved to its present location circa 1952 to save it from inundation of waters brought by the construction of the Jim Woodruff Dam, a few miles to the southwest on Lake Seminole at the Georgia-Florida line.

A newer church is located on the same property, but there is no sign indicating the name of the congregation.

I hope by publishing these photographs, I will encourage someone who knows the history to share it so I can confirm questions about this critically important and critically endangered church.

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Sylvania United Methodist Church, 1954, Recovery

The land on Hutchinson Ferry Road where Sylvania United Methodist Church is located was donated by Moses W. Johnson. I believe the congregation dates to around 1900-1905. They first met in a log schoolhouse, which may have been replaced by a frame church building at some point. The present structure was built between 1953-1954 and was dedicated in 1955.

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Brinson United Methodist Church, 1901, Decatur County

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The origins of this church can be traced to the Spring Creek Mission, organized in 1867. A crude log building served as the first church.  In 1871, the congregation adopted the name of Mt. Zion and a second structure of frame construction was built. The third and present building dates to 1901.

Brinson Family Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Mars Hill Christian Church, 1906, Decatur County

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St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1885, Bainbridge

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One of several churches in Bainbridge’s residential historic district, St. John’s is a personal favorite. It’s the oldest church building in continuous use in Decatur County.

Bainbridge Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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