Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 Place in Peril: Campbell Chapel AME Church

The Story: Campbell Chapel has served Americus’ oldest black congregation since 1920. This Romanesque Revival Church with Queen Anne style details was designed by Georgia’s first registered African American architect Louis H. Persley. The church has served the community as worship space, hosted educational and political meetings, and held graduation exercises from 1957-1969 for local African American students.

The Threat: The church’s structural integrity is threatened by lack of maintenance. The twisting and sagging of interior trusses and beams are the result of deteriorated mortar and faulty flashing at the bell tower. Additional problems with moisture have contributed to rotting windows and floors, and a collapsed ceiling. Recently the 700+ pound bell collapsed from its rotted ceiling members and crashed to the ground floor.

The Solution: The church has been recently inspected by structural engineers, architects, and contractors. Because the church’s structural safety is questionable, services have been temporarily relocated. The small, elderly congregation recently raised funds for roof repairs, but the high cost of restoration remains the church’s biggest obstacle to preserving their historic church.

Update: Pastor Lodenia Coleman and strongly committed church members continue to raise funds for the stabilization of the building.

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