The Tallapoosa Land, Mining, and Manufacturing Company built many of the buildings in Tallapoosa, and they constructed a new wooden church building near the intersection of Spring Street and West Mill Street for the Methodist Episcopal Church North, which had organized in 1890. In 1915, the building was moved slightly north to the corner of Spring and Mill Streets. At this time, the Church was enlarged, remodeled, brick veneered, and the cornerstone dated 1915 was added. The fact that there were Methodist Episcopal Churches North and South in Tallapoosa was the result of the pre-Civil War rift in the Methodist Church over the issue of slavery. There were very few Methodist Episcopal North churches in the south at that time. In 1939 the North and South congregations were merged as the present United Methodist Church. Soon after the merger, the Pentecostal Holiness Church of Tallapoosa acquired the former North building and sold their own small church building, located on East Mill Street. The Pentecostal Holiness Church held their first services in the sanctuary in January of 1942. In 2020, the Tallapoosa Historical Society acquired the building, which will now be called the Tallapoosa History Center.
The town of Tallapoosa, located near the Tallapoosa River in West Georgia, was founded in the late 19th century when the Georgia Pacific Railway Company laid tracks in 1882. The new city was laid out in a 38-block grid for both residential and business lots as part of a planned development by the Georgia Pacific Railway and subsequent expansion by the Tallapoosa Land, Mining, and Manufacturing Company. Tallapoosa was promoted in the North as the first and only “Yankee City Under Southern Sun” with a larger number of Northern people in proportion to its population than any other city in the South. The company boasted that two-thirds of the city’s population was Northern and that Northerners moving to Tallapoosa “will find a community necessarily northern in its customs, and will see all of the thrift and enterprise that is proverbial of New England manufacturing cities.”
The exterior of the church, is reminiscent of many others that dot the countryside but be prepared for a visual treat when you walk into the sanctuary. The remodeling in 1915 included the spectacular woodwork located throughout the sanctuary, that is thought to have been done by German Master Craftsmen who were probably brought down from the north to do the work. The beautiful ceilings in the sanctuary reflect the amazing skills of those Craftsmen. Tallapoosa enjoyed great success as a destination resort town in the late 1800s. The gallery photos below contain a marketing photo of the Lithia Springs Hotel, that began operations in 1892 and flourished until the early 20th century. Both the Lithia Springs Hotel and the Tallapoosa Hotel were favorite resorts for Northerners during all seasons of the year. The Lithia Springs Hotel was a magnificent tourist hotel containing 175 richly furnished rooms, a banquet hall, billiard parlor, card room, and ballroom. It was connected with a large park that contained a summerhouse and four mineral springs. Tallapoosa was quite the progressive town in the late 19th century. It was also known for having the first free public school in Georgia, built in 1892.
Tallapoosa’s unique history will now be featured in the beautiful sanctuary of the old church, where visitors will be able to wander around the magnificent furnishings and woodwork. We are grateful to the Tallapoosa Historical Society for saving the old church and re-purposing her for more community service. Be sure to click and scroll on the photos below to learn more about these special interior and furnishings.
The exterior photo that you just saw presented Tallapoosa Pentecostal as a charming, vernacular early 19th Century church with a Victorian Gothic styled steeple. We have entered the sanctuary through the doors that are tucked beneath the steeple and find ourselves in a truly, one-of-a-kind sanctuary whose interior is dazzling. In this view, we are looking from the rear of the building toward the chancel area. The corner placement of the pulpit and chancel is, by itself, a unique architectural feature.
Here, we are looking up at the sanctuary ceiling. We’ve seen no other old country church with such an ornate ceiling treatment. The fan motif is extraordinarily well crafted in the overall ceiling pattern, accentuated in the corners with a fan and sunburst with crown detailing. This is continued in the center medallion. We are told that the beautiful ceilings and woodwork throughout the sanctuary were the creation of Master Craftsmen from Germany. We certainly feel that their workmanship, fit and finish could not be replicated today.
In this close up, we see how the craftsmen created remarkable decorative features throughout the church by their placement of the wooden features. Here we see herringbone patterns mixed with horizontal, vertical and varying widths complementing each other.
In this view of the chancel and pulpit, we again find wooden decorative elements incorporated into the construction. The alter rail has a sunburst pattern creating the balusters. This treatment complements the sunbursts seen at the communion table, pulpit and the backs of the chairs placed in the apse.
The ceiling at Tallapoosa is a suspended truss design. This allows for a sloping interior in the sanctuary and creates a Cathedral-like feeling within. Here we see how the sloping area flows into the flat ceiling, and we must marvel at the beauty and elegance of the multiple, wood decorative features.
Here we see the matching pews on each side of the aisle. We see that the sunburst pattern is found on the pew ends of these lovely benches.
Here we have a closeup of a square ceiling area above the chancel. Please note again the extraordinary woodwork. Each of the sunburst patterns placed it its corners is slightly different.
Here we have a truncated view of the huge gothic window along the left wall of the sanctuary. It is a beautiful large stained glass window which we are told represents the crown of thorns followed by the risen Christ. In any case, it is a stunner.
This view is of the corner where the ceiling slope joins the ceiling above the chancel. This is another example of the quality workmanship at Tallapoosa.
We like this photo where the sun shines brightly on the pew ends accentuating the “sunrise” motif found throughout the sanctuary.
We are touched by the quality and taste exemplified on every item/element within the sanctuary. This close up of one of the decorative brass card holders found on the back of each pew is a perfect example.
This old door has swung open for many, many Parishioners at Tallapoosa for over 100 years. The fact that this landmark still stands is remarkable. We are so pleased to present this church and urge all who can to please log on to the Facebook Page of The Tallapoosa Historical Society and support them as they strive to keep its doors open for generations to come.
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Is this church ever unlocked? I’d love to see the inside.
Yes. It is now the home of the Tallapoosa Historical Society. They would love to have you.
IS THE CHURCH OPEN DAILY FOR VIEWING
Not sure what the hours are. You can contact the Tallapoosa History folks to find out.
Spectacular wood artistry! Thank you for sharing. I already have the book.