Barnett Methodist is a wonderful example of the visual power of these old rural churches. It is also an example of a structure that is at risk due to low maintenance. The inside of the church is now bare since all the furnishings are gone and the integrity of the roof has been compromised. Unless something is done soon, the deterioration will begin to accelerate.
Author’s note: We now have some great news about Barnett Methodist. The old church has been saved and brought back to its former glory. It is amazing what a new tin roof, some paint and a little carpentry will do. We owe the new owners a debt of gratitude for stepping in at such a critical time. Now you can scroll the photos with red arrows at the top to see the new Barnett. Reverend Glen Hendley and his wife Rachel (with some help from the Methodist Augusta District) have rescued Barnett from certain ruin and restored her to glory. We all salute this wonderful achievement.
Barnett is an interesting community in several ways. When the Georgia Railroad was under construction in the 1830’s, rural towns and villages began to appear and disappear as a result. Barnett was one of the villages that sprang up as a watering station and depot on the line from Augusta to Atlanta. The fact that this was the junction of the spur line to Washington only made it that much more important. It was a significant part of the Georgia Railroad and the tracks would have been laid for this part of the line sometime in the mid to late 1830’s. Railroad infrastructure included a substantial stone depot, a well and an elevated watering tank for the steam engine. Barnett, at its peak, had several stores and many houses….all gone now. The stone depot was torn down in the 60’s and we have not been able to locate a photo of it. What a shame.
The oldest documented graves in the cemetery are that of Lawrence Battle who died in 1878 and his wife who died in 1877. The Battles were a very prominent family in Warren County. Lawrence donated the land for the church in 1876 and died shortly thereafter. Lawrence’s daughter, Marye Lulu Battle who died in 1900, is the repository of the “Angel of Barnett” – one of the most inspirational gravestones we have seen anywhere in Georgia. A visit to the cemetery to see Marye Lulu and her guardian angel is well worth the effort. When standing in this graveyard next to Barnett Methodist and looking out at the surrounding, empty landscape, it is hard to believe that this was at the center of a thriving, railroad junction town – hotels, homes, stores, offices, livery stables, blacksmith, farriers, train station and all. How can these places simply disappear?
All the furnishings are now gone and there is clearly some significant damage from the leaky roof, the worst thing that can happen to one of these old churches. Even at that, the view of the chancel and apse glowing from the natural light from two large windows that flank them is moving sight. A good tin roof and some paint can buy a lot of time for these old treasures that are at risk. We hope somebody steps up.
Clearly, rain water is now pooling in the attic and flowing down the walls. This is threatening the integrity of the walls as well as the floors. That is how leaks can ultimately creep into every structural part of buildings like Barnett and ultimately bring them down. In this photo, we see the sad sound of silence. We wish these old walls could talk.
The land for the church and the cemetery was donated by Lawrence Battle in 1876. Unfortunately Lawrence and his wife are two of the oldest recorded interments, having died shortly after the church was founded. From this angle you can clearly see the roof damage that has seriously damaged the church. When the roof goes, the end is near.
Here lies Marye Lulu Battle. She was the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Warren County, who also donated the land for the church and the cemetery. Marye Lulu was the daughter of Lawrence Sr. and died at the age of 35. We are told her hand carved marble angel was imported from Italy. We think it is one of the most impressive headstones in all of Georgia. Marye Lulu was obviously much loved and sorely missed – what a tribute to her!
When standing in this graveyard next to Barnett Methodist and looking out at the surrounding, empty landscape, it is hard to believe that this was at the center of a thriving, railroad junction town – hotels, homes, stores, offices, livery stables, blacksmith, farriers, train station and all. How can these places simply disappear?
The contrast between this photo and the one on the church home page is pretty dramatic. The church was on the verge of some serious deterioration due to a failure with the roofing system. Once the roof goes, the end is not far behind. Fortunately, the new owners have done a first rate job with the church restoration. A new tin roof, some carpentry repair and a good coat of paint produces the wonderful image before you. Still working on the paint job but it is just about there.
Now contrast this photo with the interior shot at the beginning (the second photo). What was water damage, gloom and darkness is now the cheery church interior you see before you. Add some banister detail to the chancel, some acquired pews and a lovely pedal organ to top it off. Obviously the church was decked out for Christmas. It just goes to show, it can be done. Thank you Reverend Hendley and Rachel for your stewardship of this treasure.
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I went by the church Friday and the floors have been sanded and have a protective coat of polyurethene. The church is looking ver good.
Last owner of this. Hurch was Angel Band Christian Ministries. Recently sold and the contact is a Randy Wolpin. I should have read the messages below. I see where Mr. Wolpin has already posted. I hope that a great revival takes place there.
Thanks James. She seems to be in good hands. She was headed for collapse a few years ago.
I stopped by the church today 1/10/2019 and spoke with Mr. Hendley. They have sold the church building to a new church family and were clearing out personal belongings for the new owners.
Thanks for the update James. Rev. Hendley and his wife did a wonderful job saving on Barnett when the church was in serious trouble. We are so grateful for their efforts. Do you know what plans the new owners have for it?
Hello HRCGA: I’m the new owner of Barnett Church. I have been a historic preservationist and have restored many homes around Florida and Georgia, not limited to the Cheney-Newcomer House (Schofield’s Headquarters) circa 1856 in Marietta, Ga. Since most of the work has already been done on this church, I plan on sanding and refinishing the floors, painting the exterior and maintaining the property. After reading the Historic Rural Churches of Georgia book, I was inspired to help save and preserve these lovely buildings.
Randy, what a wonderful message to greet the new week. We will reach out to you via email but your message brings some hope to a lot of people that do not want these historic treasures to go away. Thank you for your willingness to get involved. We will talk soon.