Bronwood Methodist is a beautiful example of rural church architecture located in the little agricultural town of Bronwood in Terrell County. There is not a lot of church history available but according to South Georgia Conference Methodist archives, the roots of the church go back to camp meetings held at Coney’s Head on Kinchfoonee Creek. The original church was known as Salem Church, built in 1857 on land purchased from Thomas Caldwell. Salem’s membership then declined over time and the building was sold to the African American church.
The History of Terrell County tells us that the present church was built in 1889 on land purchased by the Trustees from the estate of R. C. Martin. It also tells us that a parcel of land was purchased in 1887 from W. S. Dozier for a parsonage built to house the pastor and his family. According to Wikipedia, Bronwood was originally called Brown’s Station, named after a railroad official in 1858 when the railroad was extended to that point. The Georgia General Assembly incorporated the town in 1883 as Bronwood, with the town’s limits extended in a one mile radius from the depot at Brown’s station.
An act of the Georgia Legislature dated May 9, 1827 created 5 counties, Lee, Muscogee, Troup, Coweta, and Carroll, from lands acquired from the Creek Indians for $28,000.00. Randolph County was created from Lee in 1828. The early settlers found it impossible at times to get to the county seats of the above counties crossing Kinchafoonee Creek to get to Webster and Lee Counties and Cuthbert across Ichawaynochaway, so on February 16, 1856, the Georgia Legislature created the new County of Terrell which was named for the eminent Physician and Statesman, Dr. William Terrell of Hancock County.
Bronwood is one of those architectural masterpieces that you run across so often in rural Georgia. There have been many changes over the years but the essential historical character of the church is still present. Almost all of these old masterpieces were built by local craftsmen out of local material. She has been lovingly maintained by a dedicated congregation for over 125 years now and is still going strong. Quite remarkable for a south Georgia rural town of less than 300 population. Thank you for your stewardship. Be sure to click and scroll the gallery photos below for more information.
This is an exterior closeup of the entryway and lower bell tower. Built in 1889, Bronwood is a lovely and exquisite example of a late Victorian church style that flourished near the end of the 19th century. Everywhere you look you will see Victorian architectural elements that defined Victorian style. Complex shingling in tight patterns covers the bell tower. Ornamental fretwork above the doorway, pierced brackets above the entryway and an elaborate stained glass transom atop the doors confirms the buildings Victorian heritage.
This is an interior photo of the entry vestibule taken from the sanctuary’s, double door entrance. Small rooms are to the left and right. The stained glass transom with its tall sidelight windows bring an air of welcome and joy to this scene.
This painting of a frontal view of Bronwood hangs in the entry hallway above a table that is almost always crowned by a floral arrangement. Isn’t that bell tower design breathtaking? What a welcoming sight.
Bronwood’s sanctuary has undergone extensive modifications during its 130 year history. Among other things, we see that the ceiling has been replaced with hung, acoustic tile. Walls have been covered by sheetrock placed over the original wooden boards. Manufactured, handsome wooden pews have replaced the originals and carpet covers the sanctuary floors. These changes do not alter the original layout at Bronwood and were made to insure that the congregation had ready availability to modern items such as electric lighting, central heating, air conditioning indoor plumbing, etc. It is the presence of these creature comforts that helps to keep the congregation returning and interested in maintaining their church.
Despite the elaborate, Victorian architecture of its exterior, we see that its interior is spare and simple both in design, furnishings and decorative elements. The chancel at Bronwood is about a simple as possible. There is no prayer rail and kneeling bench. The pulpit, though handsome and well made, sits in front of two alter chairs and cabinet. There is no recessed apse, rather just a simple wall with no wainscot. This simplicity in design and furnishings is in accord with the tenets of the Methodists.
Unlike the chancel and pulpit area, the transom and side lights in the vestibule are bright, festive and quite decorative. This is a close up of the left side light and a glimpse of the equally cheerful entry way transom above the double doors.
This view from the pulpit highlights the cozy nature of this old church. The sanctuary is relatively small but comfortable and is lit by its lovely electric chandeliers. Ambient light from the large windows on each side of the church casts a warm purple glow creating an inviting atmosphere within.
This is one of the two benches found in the entry vestibule, and may be original from the earliest days. It provides a spot where one might rest and reflect before entering the church.
Here we have a black and white, frontal photograph of the entire campus at Bronwood. This shot provides a chance to present an image that allows us to enjoy the magnificent and unique architecture of this late Victorian gem. With the setting sun in the background, we find it particularly attractive and think that it appropriately reflects the beauty and tranquility that we find at this lovely church. We thank the congregation for their successful and effective stewardship over all these years.
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Beautiful outside, inside should not have ceiling tiles nor speakers. How did they hear when this church was built? Now EVERYBODY has to have a speaker system! Why? Because people are not taught to project and speak up. My church was built in 1885-Thomasville First United Methodist, the oldest church in the city- and now we have to have a sound system to be in vogue. Pardon me, but this is a sacrilege to these old and historic buildings.
Old churches that record services on cd for shut-in MUST use sound systems as your voice will not record no matter how loud you yell. This could be the reason in some cases. Plus some now stream on face book, again for those that may no longer be able to attend in person.
What great pictures! This one is a stunner.