This congregation was established circa 1918.
Dawson Street Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Bethany Congregational Church was built in conjunction with the Allen Normal & Industrial Institute (1885-1933), a progressive school for black children sponsored by the American Missionary Society. The Society was the missionary department of the United Church of Christ. The school had initially been established in Quitman but the white community there burned the school to the ground scarcely six weeks after its opening. The institute moved to Thomasville after this racist episode and built a new home. Bethany was built in 1891, but only the rear section visible above. The front of the church, including the steeple, was added to meet the needs of a growing congregation in 1914.
Andrew Young served as pastor here in 1955, just after graduating from Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. He went on to become a seminal figure of the Civil Rights Movement, an ambassador to the United Nations, and mayor of Atlanta.
National Register of Historic Places
Established in 1980 on All Saints’ Day, this church initially met in the chapel of Thomas County Community College (now Thomas University). For a permanent home, the congregation acquired an abandoned Catholic church from Thomasville Landmarks. It was moved to this site on South Hansell Street in 1981 and soon thereafter restored. The first service was held here in 1982.
Jacqueline Kennedy attended services in this church at its original location on Jefferson Street while retreating in Thomasville after President Kennedy’s assassination.
Tockwotton-Love Place Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Robert D. Plymale, who has been the clerk of Boston Primitive Baptist since 1987, writes: This church held its first service November 17, 1907 with Elder Simms filling the pulpit. There were many members and church goers back then. Sunday dinner was held in the yard under the tree on a fence wire table after the morning services, which were concluded about 1 PM or so.
Boston Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
The National Register nomination form for Boston Presbyterian notes: This is believed to be the only structure moved from the former settlement of Boston in 1861. At that time its name was changed from McIntosh Church to Bethany Presbyterian Church. For many years it was the only church building in Boston. The building is a wood-framed structure, originally three bays deep and two wide; in 1908 it was expanded toward the front (possibly enclosing an original porch or portico) and a new entry vestibule under a three-tiered centered tower was constructed. In 1910 the name was changed to Boston Presbyterian Church.
* It’s easy to see that the structure could have begun as a simple vernacular Greek Revival built before Boston relocated to its present location around the outset of the Civil War. The original section is contemporary to the church’s founding. I hope further research will be done. More evidence can be gleaned from the evolution of the church cemetery. Dating to 1861, it became the final resting place of many from different denominations who worshiped here and eventually became the city cemetery.