13 October 2011

Historic West Virginia Church

The weather definitely has a bit of a chill this evening.  The North Dakota winter is on its way, and the days are getting much shorter.  The semester is quite busy, and I have several assignments due in the next week.  As I was going through some photos from the summer, I reviewed a few that I took of a historic church in my home state of West Virginia while visiting in early August.

The Virginia's Chapel Church is historic because of the date of its erection--1853--and because of the fact that both Union and Confederate forces used the building for services during the Civil War in the Kanawha Valley, among other things.  A website kept up by a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution includes some information on the building, as does the following picture of one of those road signs that designate historical sites:

Many weddings and funerals occurred in this church building over the years. How many people worshiped in this old building and are now forgotten--a name on one of the tombstones in the churchyard?  What types of people worshiped here?  At least the builder of the building was a wealthy man.  Did his workers attend?  How were they cared for otherwise?  These are the types of questions arise when thinking about the past.

The church that I'm currently researching in Grand Forks comes to mind, as well.  What causes some buildings to be deemed worthy of restoration, while others are plowed under with a bulldozer?  How many have been razed for the erection of a newer, shinier, flashier building?  What is lost when this happens?  Hopefully, some of the memories of times past are preserved when this happens.  Some of the memories are significant, others, not so much.  However, a remembrance of the people and activities of the past inform us as to who we are today (and why we are the way we are, in many instances).

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