Country Churches


Georgia is a big state with a lot of small towns.  And in and near these small towns are a variety of old churches, some in use and well maintained, and others in different stages of disrepair or ruin.

Young's Chapel, Ben Hill County, Georgia

Young’s Chapel, Ben Hill County

On a recent trip through Georgia, I spent most of my time in the larger cities of Atlanta and Savannah, but made a point to search out some interesting spots along the way.  Researching before the trip, I found a pair of very useful websites that helped locate some of these old places off the beaten path (see Historical Rural Churches of Georgia http://hcrga.org  and  Vanishing South Georgia http://vanishingsouthgeorgia.com/ ).

Driving north from Florida, I stopped at Young’s Chapel near Fitzgerald.  This church hasn’t been used in many years and is on a dirt road surrounded by pastureland and cotton fields.  Further west was Plains, made famous when Jimmy Carter ran for president nearly 40 years ago.  The Baptist church is one of the more prominent buildings in a very small town.

Plains Baptist Church, Sumter County,

Plains Baptist Church, Sumter County,

But my main focus was east of Atlanta where there is a large concentration of small churches, mostly Protestant, scattered in the counties straddling I-20.

Hopewell Baptist Church, Jasper County, Georgia

Hopewell Baptist Church, Jasper County

The challenge here was the time limitation of a single day to find as many of the churches as possible.  I managed to visit nearly a dozen locations before steady rain started in the middle of the afternoon further restricting the photography.  All of the churches were vacant, and some were unlocked, giving the chance to take a quick look inside.

Powelton Methodist Church, Hancock County, Georgia

Powelton Methodist Church, Hancock County

Antioch Baptist Church, Taliaferro County

Antioch Baptist Church, Taliaferro County

Several were without pews or pulpits and some were just poor, with drafty windows, shaky foundations or leaking roofs.  I ended the trip with a mental note to return to the area when I could devote more time to searching out these old places before they disappear.

St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, Greene County

St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, Greene County

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