There is not a lot of history available on the Omaha Methodist Church. We do know that the church was built on land that was deeded to trustees J. H. Carter and Arthus Allen in November of 1895. The Omaha Improvement Company sold nine lots of land to be used for a church and a parsonage and both were constructed at the same time. The parsonage was discontinued in 1930 and was sold and razed in the early 1940’s. The church history states that the pews in the church supposedly came from St.Luke church in Columbus but this is not authenticated. There is also mention of a large bell said to have come from England ‘a long time ago‘. The church at Omaha was the successor to the Florence church. The present church, though 120 years old, is still in remarkably good shape. It is a handsome structure of corner steeple design, a very popular style at the close of the 19th century. As seen above, the shingled steeple adds a pleasing decorative touch.
Omaha is an interesting little village located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus and at the top of Lake Eufala. “Omaha” is an Indian(Creek?) Tribal name which means “Upstream People” or “Against the Wind”. According to an old write up, ‘The village was founded in the 1890’s as a result of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. Omaha, a town in the western part of Stewart county, was incorporated by act of the legislature on Oct. 5, 1891. It is on the Seaboard Air Line railroad, in the Mineral Spring militia district, and in 1900 reported a population of 152. It has a money order post office, express and telegraph services, some good stores, schools, churches, etc. Besides the railroad facilities the town is near enough to the Chattahoochee river to profit by the rates offered by the river traffic, which makes it a good shipping point for the products of the surrounding county’. We would love to have some more history of either the church or the village of Omaha if anyone has any. It is worth a trip to look around. There is a similar looking Baptist church in the village and the three historic churches of Louvale (on this website) are located a few miles away.
Above is a view of the sanctuary from the rear of the church. We find the coved and coffered ceiling very effective decorative elements. The pastel green walls and white ceiling give an inviting lift to the whole space. We are told that the pews were removed from St. Lukes in Columbus but have no documentation of that fact. However, the mid-pew divider is evidence that they could have been used in a church built much earlier than 1895. This kind of formal separation of women and children from men in a sanctuary had become rare at the end of the 19th century. Finding it at Omaha lends credence to the story of their derivation. This photo also illustrates how the high six over six sashed windows helped direct natural light into the interior of the church.
Here we see the evidence that Omaha is seldom used these days. The cob webs and dust are a dead giveaway. On the other hand, the interior of the church is in excellent condition and can be spruced up in a hurry whenever needed. It is clear that, at least occasionally, someone is paying attention to this old treasure. Thank you!
Despite the seemingly healthy outside appearance of Omaha and the apparently sound interior condition seen in the previous photo, we see here that water is seeping into the interior at the back of the church. This is an ominous hint that the roof is failing. If this condition is not repaired soon, Omaha will travel the inevitably deadly path that awaits wooden churches like these.
It has certainly been some time since this old piano has accompanied a service at Omaha, and the failing window next to it gives evidence of the slow invasion of vines into the sanctuary since the last occupancy. This invasion, too, can cause the demise of the church. But, though not a healthy occurrence, these intrusions can be quickly repelled by inexpensive repairs to the windows, whereas the roof leaks can bring on destruction in a short time. Old Omaha church needs some help now! Let’s hope she gets some.
Here we have a charming view of the chancel, altar, pulpit and apse area. Though dusty and worn, the beauty of the scene remains appealing to us. The small apse, hand hewn and joined by local carpenters, not church construction craftsmen, is charming in its simplicity and form. The pastel green horizontal wall boards complement and contrast the vertical, heart pine wainscot. It would be a shame for the sight to slip away.
The village of Omaha is still there but greatly diminished. The hustle and bustle which once was so common here, has followed a sad but familiar pattern. But Old Omaha Methodist remains in place watching over the trees and grounds where congregants once gathered for weddings, funerals and Sunday services. We hope to discover who is still keeping the church and grounds intact. Perhaps we could help them mount an effort to insure old Omaha Church sees another century.
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My husband and I visited Omaha this afternoon. The church has deteriorated substantially. It is still beautiful though.
Yes. Such a shame to see these beauties slowly fade away. Hope your road trip is going well. There are a lot of good churches around there in Stewart County.