Turin Baptist

Coweta County
Org 1890
Photography by Brandon Westerman

A century ago, Turin was a town that had never been more than a quiet crossroads. Before the Civil War, the village of Preston, about a mile south of the present site of Turin, was the only settlement in the area. Following the end of the war, construction began on the road from Griffin to Chattanooga, and the line was completed in Coweta County, from Griffin to Carrollton in 1870. This 60-mile railroad was operated for many years under the name Savannah, Griffin, and North Alabama Railroad Company. It was built to connect Coweta and Carroll counties with the main line of the Central Railroad and Banking Company at Griffin and was considered a most important feeder of the line.

The town plan for Turin was drawn up that same year, 1870. Preston was moved to the present site to be near the railroad. In 1890, a post office was opened here and the town was chartered with a new name-Turin. Local legend has an interesting tale about how the town was named. According to the story, the town’s name was provided by local school children who had met some of the railroad workers. The railmen were from Italy and shared stories with the children about Turin, Italy. Over the next few years, several homes and brick stores were built as well as 2 cotton gins, a grocery store, a hardware store, a drug store, a pressing club (laundry shop), a barber shop, a blacksmith shop, and two doctors. 4 general stores, one of which featured a millinery department with a full-time milliner (hat maker).

In 1886, the Methodist Church moved from Tranquil to Turin and in 1890, a Baptist Church was organized. The roots of Turin Baptist reach back to the nearby community of Sharpsburg where its mother church, Mt. Lebanon Baptist was organized- one of the first in Coweta County. In 1890, 32 members of Mt. Lebanon Church split off to form a new church nearby in the growing town of Turin. During their first year, services and Sunday School were held in the Presbyterian Church in Turin near the old railroad station. While worshiping there during 1890, plans were made to build their own church and a lot was purchased from Mrs. Addie Harris Russell. A building committee was appointed and this Gothic-style building was erected and then dedicated in 1891. Rev. J. H. Hall, from Newnan, preached the dedicatory sermon. Its builders and congregation had impressive visions for their sanctuary and the final product featured high arched windows and decorative corbeling ornamentation that was popular during the Victorian Era. Tongue-and-groove boards form understated wainscoting beneath the chair rail in the sanctuary and even the antique door hinges feature a decorative tracery.

Turin was growing quickly into a thriving agricultural town thanks to plentiful cotton crops that were grown, processed, and sold in markets here during this era. In 1903, local Ed Dominick founded the Turin Banking Company, and in 1920, he built the second Turin cotton gin. But these boom times would bust shortly after in Turin. The bank closed in 1927 and when the Great Depression took hold, the community struggled to survive. Boll weevil came next, decimating area cotton crops and devastating the industry across the south. In September of 1936, Dr. Stovall noted in his ledger, “Plenty of people in town but nobody seems to have any money.” Fortunately, in 1937, Highway 16 was paved and the access to the road from Griffin to Newnan helped the economy emerge again. To replace the loss of cotton crops, local farmers looked for new products and starting in the 1930s, started planting peaches, with record crops in 1940 when 55 cars of Elberta’s Peaches were shipped from Turin.

The church had a fellowship hall and classrooms added in 1979 and then expanded in 1987. A beautiful oval stained glass window was added above the new baptistry in 1989. The church is still in use today.


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