This features a gallery of abandoned churches and religious buildings in the United States.
Ewing United Methodist Church
The Winegardener Chapel in Rushville, Ohio was erected in 1887.
Emmanuel Methodist Episcopal Church
The Emmanuel Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as the Bruffeys Creek Church, was constructed c. 1899 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. 2
First Baptist Church
The First Baptist Church is located in Fayette County, West Virginia.
Hills Chapel was established c. 1899 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. 1
New Salem Baptist Church
The New Salem Baptist Church was constructed in the Gothic Revival architectural style c. 1921 for African-Americans in the coal camp of Tams, West Virginia. 5 6 Tams was a racially segregated community and was divided into the American Town, the Immigrant Town, and the Colored Town, the latter being located on the north side of Tams. 5 The church was erected after the board of trustees of the congregation approached W.P. Tams, Jr., who owned the company town, requesting that a church be built for their community. After providing funding, Tams was repaid in full by the congregation in 1928 and the church received a clear title for the property.
The church reached its peak during the 1930s with 350 members. 5 The Tams No. 1 mine was worked out by 1941 but the Tams No. 2 mine down in the Pocahontas No. 4 seam was in operation until 1966. 6 In the mid-1950s, the Gulf Smokeless Coal company merged with the Winding Gulf Collaries and the McAlpin Coal Company to form Winding Gulf Coals and continued to operate mines at or near Tams until 1970. 5 The Westmoreland Coal Company set up regional headquarters for their Winding Gulf Division at Tams circa 1971, but it eventually had to declare bankruptcy during a downturn in the coal industry in the 1980s.
Residences in the Black Town of Tams were slowly removed by the Slab Fork Coal Company so that it could build and expand upon a preparation plant and complex for its No. 10 mine in the 1960s and 1970s. 5 By the mid-1980s, the last resident of Tams had left and all of the buildings from the community, with the exception of the New Salem Baptist Church, were removed.
As of 2016, the New Salem Baptist Church was still active but had just a handful of worshippers. 5
Quinnimont Baptist Church
The Quinnimont Baptist Church was constructed in the Gothic Revival architectural style c. 1920 in Fayette County, West Virginia. 3
Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Church
The Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Church for African Americans was established in 1880 in Fayette County, West Virginia. 4 The increasing number of African Americans living within the New River Gorge led to the formation of the New River Baptist Association in 1884.
The Wyco Church was constructed in the late Gothic Revival architectural style c. 1917 in the coal camp of Wyco, West Virginia. 7 Wyco was developed by John Wilson for the Wyoming Coal Company. Wilson’s partner, Major W.T. Tams, who was serving in Europe durng the first World War, had developed the Tams coal camp across the mountain prior to founding Wyco.
Attendance in the church began dropping by the late 1950s, partly because of adjoining coal mines being exhausted and mechanization, all of which resulted in the slow decline in Wyco. 7 It eventually stopped offering services until it reopened in 1964 as the Wyco Independent Church, a non-denominational facility. It became the Wyco Freewill Baptist Church in 1972 and as the Wyco Independent Baptist Church on February 1, 1977.
In 1990, after the last operator of the mines at Wyco, the Pittston Coal Company, closed the mines for good, the church was abandoned. 7 On May 13, 2003, the Wyco Church was transferred to the Rural Appalachian Improvement League (RAIL) and partly restored.
[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]
- Greenawalt, Justin and Mary Stack. West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, 2011, Hills Chapel.
- West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, Emmanuel Methodist Episcopal Church.
- Valente, Kim A. West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, 1994, Quinnimont Baptist Church.
- “Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Church.” National Park Service, 12 Feb. 2021.
- “New Salem Baptist Church.” Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, 1 Feb. 2016.
- DellaMea, Chris. “Tams.” Coalfields of the Appalachian Mountains, 2021.
- Weaver, Shirley, Catherine Bell, and Dewey Houck. “Wyco Church.” National Park Service, 8 Jan. 2010.