In rural Crawford County, a small community called Ceres emerged, named after the Roman Goddess of agriculture. While there isn’t much left of Ceres today, parts of its history have survived in the nearby community of Musella.
In March 1884, Ceres Baptist Church began services, led by Reverend J.A. Jackson, in a schoolhouse. The following year, a church sanctuary was constructed at Ceres and a Baptist congregation met there on the 4th Sunday of each month until the arrival of the railroad caused a shift for the community.
In 1895, a new town first appeared on the map near Ceres called Musella. Musella had been founded as a flag stop along the Atlanta & Florida Railroad that was laying tracks to connect Atlanta and Fort Valley, Georgia. The decision to bring the railroad through would be the beginning of the story for the town of Musella while it marked the beginning of the end for Ceres.
In 1889, a Post Office was opened at Musella, and in 1890, a general store opened as well. In a short period of time, the small but bustling stop of Musella had emerged as a vibrant economic center in Crawford County. The railroad offered better opportunities for farmers to bring their products to market so residents of nearby Ceres migrated to Musella.
The unusual town name reportedly comes from the joining of the names Moses and Ella after the names of two early settlers here. Meant to be ‘Mosella,’ a transcription error left the town with the official name Musella.
In 1908, the Ceres Baptist Church voted to relocate 2 miles into Musella, and by 1909, they had constructed a new sanctuary. On September 26, 1909, the first services were held at Musella, and later that year, the congregation voted to change the name from Ceres Baptist to Musella Baptist.
In 1913, the Ceres Cotton Gin was disassembled and relocated to Musella, where it operated continually until 1995.
Today, the congregation is small but still active in this vibrant farming community.
If you have the chance to visit, take extra time on your trip to stop at Dickie’s Peach Stand, with trees that were planted here in Musella in 1897.
As we saw in the frontal photo, the Musella Baptist Church as presently configured is a lovely example of a highly modified rural church. The original, simple single gabled church of its origination has been reconfigured in many ways. What we see most prominently in this view of the south west corner is the bell tower, front entry way and additions to the south side. The gothic elements seen every where are consistent with the era (Victorian) when these changes were made.
This stunning view is of the sanctuary from the chancel/pulpit . We see a suspended truss ceiling architecture within the sanctuary whose ceilings, widow-frames, exposed trusses and pews are all made of wood. We believe all these elements are made of long leaf pine. A sanctuary such as this is unique in such a rural area. We salute the congregation for it’S loving stewardship.
This is a view of the North wall, gothic windows. All of the handsome windows within the sanctuary are matching, gothic lancet windows mounted in highly decorated, exquisite wood frames.
The pews within the sanctuary are all of the highest quality lumber. The pew-ends all bear matching gothic escutcheons.
Here we see one of the front entry Gothic doors decorated with lovely wreaths.
Here we have a close up of a pair of the Lancet windows flanking matching gothic pews.
The offertory table sits on the chancel before the pulpit and rests in plush carpet.
Here we see a rare, functioning, Gothic, Lancet door in in a corner of the chancel. Where does it lead us?
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I’ve been there for several family funerals.
What a beautiful place to worship. I hope that the church will continue to serve as a centerpiece for the community for many more generations. The architecture of the building and its interior are so well complimentary of the other.