Bethany United Methodist Church — Austinville, Virginia

Austinville, Virginia
I dont really have an interesting history or story to share about this church. I just really think its a pretty building. This church is located a few miles west off of exit 24 of Interstate 77 on Lead Mine Road. The church has been in the community since at least the early 1900s. I cant find any more information about this church online.

Loy Memorial Methodist Church — New Market, Tennessee

This church is located in the New Market community of Jefferson County, Tennessee about 20 miles north east of Knoxville.
Former Loy Methodist Church -- New Market, Tennessee
The church was organized and built in 1908. In 2016, 108 years after the church opened its doors, the building began a new life as an art gallery known as the Gray Dove Studio.

Bowling Chapel Methodist Church — Carter County, Tennessee

Bowling Chapel Methodist Church -- Carter Co, Tennessee
Bowling Chapel Methodist Church is located on US 19E just to the west of Roan Mountain, Tennessee in Carter County.

The church’s roots can be traced back to as early as 1807 when the congregation in the Crabtree community was first formed. The church, however has a tragic story linked to its past which ultimately ended in closure and consolidation of the congregation with the nearby Roan Mountain Methodist Church.
Bowling Chapel Methodist Church -- Carter Co, Tennessee
The following is an excerpt about historic churches in Carter County I found from the Elizabethton Star published in September 2015.

Murder at Roan Mountain Church Revival
Perhaps the most violent and cowardly act in a local church building occurred at the old Bowling Chapel Methodist Church in the Crabtree community of Roan Mountain. The church building, which still stands by the side of the road, is marked by time and age. The paint on the exterior has peeled, the tin roof is now rusty, and the bell tower is absent its bell.
In October 1933, a 32-year-old Carter County constable in the Roan Mountain community was shot in the back as he led singing at a revival meeting inside the church.
According to an account from the Elizabethton Star, John Arnett, was shot in the back by his third cousin, Howard Arnett, who stood outside the church and shot through a window. The shooting occurred on a Tuesday evening, and Arnett died the following Friday morning.
The article stated that witnesses on the outside of the church told authorities that as the shooter raised the gun to fire through the window, he is alleged to have said, “I have killed rabbits and squirrels with this gun, but this is the largest game I have ever brought down.”
“The constable was shot immediately after prayer had ended and he had just started to reach for a song book to lead the singing,” the article read.
Accomplices in the shooting were identified as Dayton Arnett and Robert Julian. All three were later tried and sent to prison for a period of time.
The shooting apparently was the result of the constable seeking to bring some law and order to the community after an outbreak of vandalism and the breaking and entering of homes and a store in the community.
When the church closed its doors several years later, many of its parishioners joined Roan Mountain United Methodist Church. The small Bowling Chapel Church had been a part of the community since 1807.
Despite the shooting, its members had sweet memories of the church. Mrs. Joe Whitehead, now deceased, recalled being a part of the church in her youth and the powerful preaching by some of its pastors, the fervent prayers and songs of praise, dinners on the ground, and Vacation Bible School. “I remember most of the people who attended the church. They were good people, who loved the Lord, and most would have given you the shirt off their back,” she said.
No doubt those early parishioners had memories of Tweetsie, the small narrow gauge train. The railroad track was next to the church, and at least twice a day, the little train chugged and whistled its way past the church as it made its daily run to Cranberry, N.C., and back.
The small abandoned church was also the subject of one of Don Iverson’s paintings.

Cannel City Union Church — Morgan County, Kentucky

I know a lot of times when I post these old buildings I “happen” to run across people wonder how in the world I find them.  This building, the Cannel City Union Church in Morgan County was no accident.  Several years ago, pre-facebook even, I discovered a blog online called owned and authored by a guy by the name of Sherman Cahal.  Eventually this guy became one of my idols.  He visited so many cool places and documented so many abandoned buildings crumbling into the past.  Later, when Facebook became a thing I became friends with Sherman and he still inspires my travels and explorations to this day, including the Cannel City Union Church.

Cannel City Union Church -- Morgan Co, Kentucky The church was first constructed in 1905 as a multi denominational church. Cannel City Union Church -- Morgan Co, KY
Today the church sits abandoned, doors left unlatched and windows gone in some places.

Allardt First Presbyterian Church

The church was constructed in 1903 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 3, 1991.



The Allardt First Presbyterian Church is a Gothic Revival style building located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Allardt, (Fentress County) Tennessee.


The church was constructed in 1903 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 3, 1991.

Lee City Holiness House of Prayer — Wolfe County, Kentucky


The Lee City Holiness House of Prayer is located in Lee City, Kentucky in Wolfe County about 18 miles north of Jackson and about 16 miles east of Campton along Kentucky State Route 205.


Blackwater Union Baptist Church — Lee County, Virginia


Blackwater Union (Missionary) Baptist Church is located on Blackwater Road about 5 miles from the intersection wtih state route 70.  Blackwater3

The current structure was erected in 1956.




Vardy Community Historic District — Hancock County, Tennessee


The Vardy Community Historic District is located along Blackwater Road in Hancock County near the Lee County, Virginia border.


The Vardy Community has a very colorful past and a rich history.  So much so that the entire area was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.    At that time Vardy had just eight residents remaining.

In the early 19th century, the early Melungeon settler Vardeman “Vardy” Collins born in 1764 received a grant for a large plot of land in the Newman’s Ridge area. It included the land on which the Vardy school and church  would be located. In subsequent decades, his descendants developed his namesake community along Blackwater Creek. In 1834, the Tennessee Constitutional Convention restricted the rights of free people of color, including Melungeons, depriving them of the right to vote, which they had had since the state was established in 1796. . Such racial discrimination contributed to the Melungeons of Newman’s Ridge maintaining a closed, endogamous community.

Vardy Presbyterian Church was Completed in 1899

Presbyterians were active in Vardy by the late 19th century, when itinerant Presbyterian ministers Christopher Humble and H.P. Cory were conducting sporadic services in the Blackwater Valley. In 1892, the Presbyterian Church’s Holston Presbytery decided to establish a mission school at Vardy, and the Presbyterian Women’s Board of Missions appointed Annie Miller and Maggie Axtell as missionaries to the community. Batey Collins (a grandson of Vardeman) and his wife Cynthia donated several acres of land for the mission school and church, and other locals donated lumber and helped with construction.[3] The Vardy Mission School, which initially held classes in a crude log structure (no longer standing), was the first to offer the state-mandated 1st-grade through 8th-grade curriculum to children living in the valley. The Vardy Presbyterian Church was completed in 1899, and a new frame schoolhouse was completed in 1902.  The school closed in 1973 and services were held at the church until 1980.


In 1910, Mary Rankin, a Scottish missionary and Columbia graduate, arrived in Vardy. For more than three decades, she served as a teacher and nurse. Rankin taught prenatal and postnatal childcare to local mothers and fought malnutrition in the valley. Between 1920 and 1952, the Vardy mission thrived under the leadership of Chester F. Leonard and his wife, Josephine. A new three-story schoolhouse, powered by a Delco generator, was completed in 1929.

A photo of the school can be found HERE

Upon completion of the new schoolhouse, the Vardy Mission School became known as the Vardy Community School.[1]A series of interim ministers succeeded Leonard.


Following the United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional, the Presbyterian Church sold the Vardy school to Hancock County in 1955 and it became part of the public school system. Classes continued at the school until 1973, and services continued at the Vardy Presbyterian Church until 1980.

Until recently the collapsed remains of the 3 story Vardy School could be seen from the road but I was through this area last week and the site has now been cleaned and there only remains the plaque in the courtyard of the church recognizing the history of Vardy Community School.


Zion M.E Church — Baileyton, Tennessee

The Baileyton Community met about 1830 and built a log cabin on the south side of Snapp Ferry Road (now Horton Hwy).south and west of the present brick church. The people met in it until 1858 when the present church was built.

The first settlers near Laurel Gap, now Baileyton, settled on the rich bottom land near Lick Creek.


John Westley and George Whitfield as well as other noted speakers passed through this area occasionally and preached. The people strongly desired an established place to worship. The Baileyton Community met about 1830 and built a log cabin on the south side of Snapp Ferry Road (now Horton Hwy).south and west of the present brick church. The people met in it until 1858 when the present church was built.


In Jan. 1860 Thomas Bailey deeded the land for the Zion ME church to the Trustees.   In 1972 Sunday school rooms were added to the Zion Church.


The fact that this building has stood for over 150 years is astonishing to me.  Just imagine all of the lives touched by this building.  The people who have walked through the doors to worship.  Its amazing and this building really is a treasure for the people of Greene County.

Blue Springs Lutheran Church — Greene County, Tennessee


Located in Mosheim, Tennessee The Blue Springs Luteheran Church was founded prior to 1811.  This is the third structure to be serve the congregation.

MoshiemChurch2During the Civil War the brick structure on this site serving the church served as a hospital.


The building currently on the site was built in 1893 and is currently not used.