Crescent Hill Baptist

White County
Org 1872
Photography by Randy Clegg

Crescent Hill Baptist is nestled in the North Georgia foothills overlooking the picturesque Nacoochee Valley, carved out over centuries by the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River. The church also overlooks a historically significant ancient Indian mound built by the Mississipian Indian culture known as ‘Moundbuilders’. The mound is a famous local landmark that was formally excavated in 1915 by a team of archaeologists headed by Frederick Webb Hodge and George H. Pepper. George Gustav Heye wrote a book about the excavation, The Nacoochee mound in Georgia, with Hodge and Pepper, which was published in 1918. The excavation uncovered 75 human burials, including 56 adults, seven adolescents, and four children, and eight bodies that were too degraded for their ages to be determined.

The first white owner of the land where the church is located was Daniel Brown, one of the first settlers in the area, who purchased it from the local Cherokees after the Treaty of 1819. Forty years later, in 1869, the land was sold to Colonel James H. Nichols of Milledgeville who began extensive construction in the area on several of the buildings (including the Victorian house) on what is now the Hardman Farm. He was responsible for the completion of the church in 1872. The church was originally known as the Nacoochee Presbyterian church. In 1893 the property was sold to Calvin Hunnicutt of Atlanta who sold it to Dr. L.G. Hardman in 1903. It remained in the Hardman family until given to the State of Georgia in 2002. The house and outbuildings are open to the public. Dr. Hardman was a very successful physician and entrepreneur who had extensive business interests across the state. Lamartine Griffin Hardman (April 14, 1856 – February 18, 1937) served two terms as the 65th Governor of the state of Georgia from 1927 to 1931. He was the state’s oldest elected governor at the age of seventy-one. Two years later he was elected for a second term. For more information on Dr. Hardman click here.

In the early 1900’s, the Nacoochee Presbyterian church ceased holding services in the church and it remained unused until 1921 when Dr. Hardman allowed a group of Baptists to hold their services there. They re-named the church Crescent Hill Baptist. The main part of the church building has remained unchanged. The pulpit, pews and stained glass are original. It is a remarkable rural church with uncommon architecture and charm that has been lovingly cared for by the congregation, some of whom are descendants of the original church founders. The church has approximately 150 members and services are held every Sunday at 11 am. Come visit this remarkable example of original architecture from the 1870’s.

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