Historic Church and Cemetery Restoration Project Underway in Russell County

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RUSSELL COUNTY, Alabama (WTVM) – Uchee Chapel Methodist Church and Cemetery sits on what was once called the historic Old Federal Road, now known as Russell County Road 22.

What now stands was built in 1859. Services were actively held at the church for 130 years until 1989.

So, of course, there is major wear and tear on the building.

Historical Commissioner Mary Jo Persons says the church still has great potential.

“At the moment the main thing is the windows, maybe the electricity and the plaster inside,” Persons said.

While the church needs some TLC, its cemetery needs logistical assistance.

Bring in historical experts from across the state like Collier Neely from Montgomery.

“We may be able to help them list the cemetery associated with the Uchee Methodist Church on the Alabama Cemetery Registry,” Neely said.

The historic commission successfully added the church to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, now is the time to recognize the cemetery.

Collier Neely explains how the Landmarks Foundation will help.

“Research, researching church records, talking to people and just building relationships,” Neely said.

As the group helps Ms. Persons work out the details, her dedication to the Uchee Churches Restoration Project is personal.

“Many of the people who founded the church are buried here,” Persons said. “My grandfather, my great-grandfather is over there.”

The goal is to preserve the rich history for the next generation.

“So you have this deep-rooted history here and as we lose these rural areas, and as society changes, it’s important that we gather as much information as possible in order to better tell our story,” Neely said.

Going forward, the Russell County Historical Commission plans to have the old church fully restored and used as a tourist attraction, showing the history of the area and using the building as an event space.

Commissioners are currently waiting to see if they will receive a grant for funding, but people can also donate.

Individuals/organizations may donate to the Russell County Historical Commissions.

They require you to make a reservation for Uchee Chapel Methodist Church, PO Box 3411, Phenix City, Al. 36868. For more information, email [email protected]

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