Sadly most of them have been torn down. A few burned down. I was looking at a photo of one in Nashville that is now a multi million dollar home (photos of that one to come later). Probably the oldest still standing is in Northcutts Cove. Built in 1909, it was replaced by a stone church in the late 1940's. It too was replaced with a more modern structure in the early 80's that is still used today.
So this weekend I took a trip to Grundy County. It is only about an hour from my house. But it feels like it is so much further.
I had heard that the owners keep it unlocked so people can visit and look around whenever they like. I guess it is easier than trying to run over there to open it up for every one who wants to stop by. So on this trip I went up to the from door and sure enough, it wasn't locked. Not that there is anything inside worth taking, but where I come from, everything is locked.
Immediately the ceiling lights jumped out at me. I can't help but think they are original. Others lights have been added along the side walls are obviously not original.
Stories are told about how the pews were hand made, so I had to take a picture of them too.
It is a simple building, with nothing more than the absolute essentials. A raised section at the far (east) end of the building. A podium, which looks newer than the rest, and a wood burning stove. It does get cold in Tennessee. Remember the ice storms?
I did find some holes in the wall, and in the ceiling. None of them appeared to go all the way through to the outside. It is an old building, so that doesn't surprise me. It does appear that someone has been doing enough work to keep the elements at bay. In 1979, thanks to efforts of the owners the building made it on the National Register of Historic places.
It is perhaps an example of preservation that is working. I know that the owners are descendants of the original converts who donated the land. Ownership reverted to them once the church replaced the church in the 40's. They should be commended for keeping it as it was. I can cite another church the was in a similar situation that did not survive. The owners tore it down to build a new home. And another that is being used as a personal storage shed. But those are stories for another day.