Juliette Methodist

Monroe County
Org 1885
Photography by Tony Cantrell

The year was 1825 when members of the Creek Indian tribe were forcibly moved across the Ocmulgee River, opening this section of Georgia up to white settlers. The communities that would emerge on opposite sides of the river would thrive quietly for the next century until a movie catapulted the small community to fame with this quaint little chapel featured in the film.

But it was the river and the power it offered to mill operators that originally put this place on the map. As early as 1839, a gristmill was operating on the west bank of the river and soon after, more businesses and houses would be built too. In the years before the Civil War, the gristmill here was one of the most productive in the nation, grinding corn and wheat. After the war, the mill was acquired by Nathaniel Glover and the community was named Glover’s Mill. On the west side of the river, were two early communities called Brownsville and Iceberg that were connected to the west bank via Glover’s Ferry.

In 1882, the Eastern Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad laid tracks through the community, helping to connect the grist mill and cotton farmers with larger markets. Eventually,  the post offices for Iceberg, Brownsville, and Glover’s Mill were combined and the community became known as East and West Juliette. According to local legend, the new name was selected in honor of Juliette McCracken, the daughter of the railroad engineer who surveyed and laid the railroad tracks through town. 

As a thriving community emerged, they decided they wanted to have their own church so that they no longer needed to take the full-day trip to Ebenezer or Salem Methodist to worship. In 1885, they began searching for an ideal parcel and one acre was donated by Mr. D. S. Redding for the first church in Juliette. The charter members were Mr. and Mrs. Redding, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Driskell, Ms. Greer, Mr. Mays, and Mr. McGee.

Over the years, the congregations’ numbers have fluctuated, but the church has persevered. In their church history, they say: “While our active membership is small, our hearts are large, our friends are many, and our goals are set.” The building is still in use today, although it has been adapted over time to meet the needs of a modern congregation. In 1938, the group banded together to raise money to bring electricity to the church. In 1983, central heating and air were added, followed by a steeple upgrade that was added in 1986. 

It was in 1991 when Hollywood came calling to Juliette. Producers realized the charm of the sleepy southern town and selected it as the location for the film, Fried Green Tomatoes. The movie was filmed at various locations in Juliette, including the “Whistlestop Cafe” (formerly Williams’ Grocery) and at Juliette Methodist Church, earning it the moniker: “The Church in the Movie.” Since then, a fellowship hall and pavilion were added by the congregation which is still going strong 130+ years later.

The cemetery that surrounds the church had its start as the Chambless Family burial plot that predates the church (first burial c. 1879). On the left side of the church surrounded by a gate, you will find relocated burials that were moved to this site when Georgia Power & Light was constructing a coal-fired plant in 1982.

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