Thursday, June 15, 2017

Historic Churches

Temple Beth El
1301 Quintard Avenue, Anniston
Adjacent and to the right of the Chamber, you’ll see the town’s only Jewish synagogue, dedicated in 1891. The single story, Byzantine design features arched transom doorways and windows and a high gable roof.

Parker Memorial Baptist Church
1205 Quintard Ave., Anniston 
Across the street from the Temple Beth El, Parker Memorial was constructed of native stone between 1888 and 1891. This church is one of Anniston’s most prominent landmarks. Architect George Kennerly’s design features an interior of Italian wood and beautiful lancet stained glass windows. Early business leader, Duncan T. Parker, bequeathed a sum for the main auditorium in memory of his wife, Cornelia. The name was then changed from 12th Street Baptist Church to Parker Memorial.

Grace Episcopal Church
1000 Leighton Avenue, Anniston 
Commissioned in 1882 by the town’s founders General Daniel Tyler and Samuel Noble, the beautiful Gothic structure, often called “A Poem in Cedar and Stone” was designed by George Upjohn. The exquisite native sandstone masonry was done by Simon Jewell, who was also the stonemason for Parker Memorial and First Christian Church on Leighton. The interior is executed in cedar, brass, and stone, the architectural theme of Solomon’s Temple as described in the First Book of Kings.

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
West 18th St. and Cobb Avenue, Anniston 
This church was built by John Ward Noble in 1888 for the working men of West Anniston. A drive through the grounds of one of the finest late nineteenth century churches in Alabama shows the Romanesque style of architecture designed by William Hulsey Wood, the architect of St. John the Divine in New York City. Features include hand-carved stonework by Simon Jewell, an imposing 95-foot bell tower housing twelve bells, a series of memorial windows, hand-carved interior trusses by Bavarian woodcarvers, and an Italian marble altar. The Parish Hall contains a set of lithographs showing the history of Christianity, said to be the only set of its kind in existence.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Intersection of Ladiga and Church, Jacksonville 
Consecrated in 1856, this beautiful English Gothic frame structure is Jacksonville’s oldest church building and is on the Alabama Register of Landmarks.

First Presbyterian Church
Corner of Church and Clinton, Jacksonville 
A gem of English architecture completed in 1865, it served as a hospital during the War Between the States and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

First Baptist Church
101 East Oak Street, Oxford 
Organized in 1836, the congregation moved to this site when it was donated by E.S. Simmons in 1860. The first wooden frame structure was replaced by the present building in 1910.

 Dodson Memorial Presbyterian Church- c. 1857
841 Main Street, Oxford 
The Presbyterian Church at Oxford was organized before the 1850’s, and the present sanctuary was constructed in 1857 by slave labor on land deeded from Dudley Snow. John McIver Forbes was a pioneering settler to Benton County, Alabama and owner of a vast amount of property and slaves. McIver was also instrumental in completion of the church, he camped out until the work was complete. The total cost of construction was $2,500.
It has been rumored that the church played an important role during the Civil War, as an Underground Railroad Station. Evidence to support this was from a crawl space from underneath the pulpit.
In 1891, major improvements and renovations were completed on the sanctuary including the addition of stain glassed windows, and Eastlake Style woodwork. The exterior was also heavily modified.
In honor of Professor John L. Dodson, the Hugh Church Court renamed the Oxford Presbyterian Church to Dodson Memorial Presbyterian Church. Professor Dodson was the founder of the Oxford College, and a long time member of the Church. The Oxford College resembled the outer architecture of the Presbyterian Church.

First United Methodist Church
212 Snow Street, Oxford 
The Congregation was founded in 1849. The present Normanesque, oversized brick structure was begun in 1872.

If your church has history you'd like to share, please email 

For our complete Historic Driving Tour, stop by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, call (256)237-3536 or check out

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