Below is some of the church history we found for this beautiful structure in the picturesque village of Crawfordville. The church is located close to the equally magnificent county courthouse on the village square. In addition to the beautiful interior photos, note the link above to take a 360 tour of this historic old treasure.
“Crawfordville Presbyterian Church, located in downtown Crawfordville, Georgia was established on November 15, 1879 when a committee appointed by the Augusta Presbytery met at the Crawfordville Methodist Church to organize the church which consisted of twelve charter members. Church history does not specifically say but I assume meetings were held at Crawfordville Methodist or individual homes until Crawfordville Presbyterian had its own building.
On January 28, 1893, the Reverend M. W. Doggett, an evangelist of the Synod of Georgia, came to Crawfordville and began a series of meetings about the church. Following these meetings, Julia Hammack and other faithful women of the church organized The Ladies Presbyterian Aid Society in July of 1894, with the express purpose of raising money to build a church. Julia Harris Hammack was one of the charter members of the church and the second wife of Joseph Davis Hammack, who served Taliaferro County as Tax Commissioner, Clerk of Inferior Court, Superior Court and Ordinary Judge and later served many years until his death as controller of the Taliaferro County Treasury. Julia Hammack was described as a devout and earnest Christian woman, who worked tirelessly with hope and an expectation of someday seeing a church building built.
According to church history, it appears the men of Crawfordville Presbyterian Church may have thought building a church was nothing but an idle dream. But by the spring of 1895, seeing the optimism and determination of these faithful women, the Ladies Presbyterian Aid Society had secured the consent of four male members of the church to act as a building committee. Finally on July 5, 1896, the work of building the church was completed and the Presbyterian Congregation worshipped for the first time in their own church building. I have to assume the brick church building seen here may be the second building. There is a cornerstone which is part of the church tower that states “Erected Oct 4 1920” but nothing about that date is mentioned in the history. Women also seem played a part in obtaining the land for the church when Sallie Lou Bristow, Mammie Hammack and Claude Bristow conveyed information about properties to the church officers.
After Julia Hammack’s death, her daughter Kate Hammack Bird was a devout servant to the church just like her mother. Kate Bird was the wife of Judge William Wiley Bird, an elder in the church. She was a lover of music and song and served as the church musician for many years. Her son, Doctor Frank Bird, purchased a beautiful organ in her honor and donated it to the church.
These and many more women and men were mentioned in the church history I found and they were honored by this closing statement, The above-mentioned members of Crawfordville Presbyterian Church were truly noble people. All were kind to the church, Sunday school and to all of Taliaferro County.”
The church is eclectic in style. The crenellated tower is typical of the Perpendicular and Decorative periods of Gothic architecture. The front gable features corbelled brick work and buttressed ends with a large gothic stained-glass window.
The building is anchored by an entry/bell tower, featuring a double door with gothic transom and buttressed corners, rusticated granite lintels, brick corbelling and decorative insert all crowned with a crenellated feature.
The interior features Gothic windows on the main entry façade and rectangular windows elsewhere, all featuring stain glass components.
The interior features a sloped floor creating a sense of progression and ceremony leading to the pulpit. This is an unusual feature that creates an amphitheater atmosphere as well as enhancing visibility for the congregants.
This is a lovely view of the front of the church from the interior. The Gothic stained glass windows are magnificent and represent some of the best we have seen. Note the double entrance doors on the left to the exterior steps and on the right through the bell tower main entrance.
Note the well designed use of space in the sanctuary that features an elevated choir loft in the balcony with individual classrooms and storage space below.
Here is a dramatic view from the choir loft that gives a sense of the interior architecture and design that work together perfectly. Note the sloping floor, the sparse stage and the podium that works with the sloped floor to create a sense of progression and ceremony leading to the pulpit. Finally, notice the custom pews featuring different lengths that make this unique sanctuary so special.
Additional rectangular stained glass windows give the sanctuary a noble feel while allowing an abundance of diffused light into the sanctuary.
Here a view of the podium, piano and elevated choir loft. Note the hanging chandeliers that complement the overall Gothic design in combination with a ceiling composed of heavy timber beams supported by timber columns with decorative brackets.
The single piano compliments the sparse but elegant interior and is in close proximity to the elevated choir. You can almost hear the strains of Amazing Grace filling the sanctuary. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Here is another round of applause for the magnificent stained-glass windows. These are some of the best in all of rural Georgia.
This old photograph of the original church under construction hangs on the wall of the bell tower entry. This would have been some time in the late 1800s we think.
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