Cove Methodist is a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary located only a few miles from where some of the most bitter Civil War fighting on Southern soil took place…….Chickamauga. In September of 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga produced the second highest number of casualties in the war, following only the Battle of Gettysburg. It was the first major battle of the war that was fought in Georgia. The Cove Methodist history simply says… ‘In the period just after the Civil War, when times were hard and bitter, the founders of this church wanted to create a just and fitting place in which to worship God in spirit and truth. In a time when their world was struggling to rebuild itself, and the stirring events of war were still fresh in the minds of some, this history begins.‘
In March of 1872, the Trustees of Cove Methodist Episcopal Church were deeded one acre of land to be used for a community burial ground and one acre for a church. A Methodist church was established and a frame building was erected at the present site. In 1894, the old house was torn down and the present church was erected. The location for the church was only a few miles from the battlefield and was situated at the foot of Lookout Mountain in a place known as McLemore’s Cove. And so it seemed fitting and proper for the trustees of the church to name it simply….Cove Methodist.
From the 1975 church history…..‘The designer of the building is unknown, but is believed to be from or schooled in the Northern part of the country, for the structure is of New England Colonial frame architecture, with its simple principles of line and proportions. The building stands erect and solid with the bell tower sheltered in the branches of the huge oak and hickory trees, over which it has stood guard since they were only saplings. The twin entrance steps, as well the foundation, were probably made from the rocks from the very site as they were plentiful there. The many paned glass windows, which almost reached the ceiling, provided the light for daytime services. For night,services light was provided from kerosene lanterns hung about the walls. The open windows and high ceilings helped in the cooling of the building in the summer. In the early days, a large pot-bellied stove in front of the circular altar provided heat in the winter. It is at this site that for more than a century Methodist congregations have met and worshiped together ; and still today the ancient building stands in silent witness to the faith of its fathers’.
Cove Methodist is another example of the crucial role that the rural churches played in the spiritual and physical healing of our forefathers during such terrible times of suffering and loss. As the good book says, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me’. Thank you for your service and your stewardship over this historical treasure for over 125 years.