Antioch Primitive Baptist

Stewart County
Org 1832
Photography by Steve Robinson

Antioch Primitive Baptist Church was founded in 1832 in Pleasant Valley, then moved to Moccasin Gap in 1842 and finally to its present location in Louvale in 1851. Louvale was then known as Hannahatchee, named after a nearby creek. The present church was erected in the mid 1880’s to replace the original log structure. Louvale is a small farm community in the western part of Stewart County and is the site of Louvale Church Row. Church Row is listed on the National Register and consists of three church buildings dating from the late 19th century.

Church Row came about as a result of land donated by Dr. William H. Tatum. Dr. Tatum had acquired land adjacent to the Antioch church and donated some of it, first to the congregation of Marvin Methodist church and later to the New Hope Baptist congregation. Dr. Tatum’s vision was that Louvale (formerly named Antioch) would become a thriving railroad town as a result of the Americus, Preston and Lumpkin railroad being built in the late 1880’s. Unfortunately the railroad fell on hard times and ultimately went bankrupt, resulting in Louvale becoming just another rural Georgia farming community…….although a charming one that still retains its historical character.

The church itself is simply elegant. The center steeple design in combination with the simple but tasteful main entry into the sanctuary makes one wonder how these early Georgia builders acquired such a sense of tasteful, religious architecture. It is quite moving. The liberal use of windows on all four sides of the small chapel seems so appropriate for the architecture while also providing an abundance of light and ventilation.