THE CHAPEL BUILDING
The present church building, which is the third one to be located on the site, was built by Thomas J. (Jeff) Skelton and Robert (Bob) Tatum, both members of the church who are buried in the adjoining cemetery. According to oral tradition and existing evidence, it was erected about 1889 – 1890. It still strongly reflects its original appearance with little concession to modernization beyond the bare needs of its small congregation. It is one of the few remaining frontier period chapels in Cherokee County that has been kept in good repair but very close to the original state as built over a century ago.
The simple wood-frame building is an excellent example of the plain, four-square frontier, or traditional southern rural chapel construction that was common during the early years of the County’s history. It consists of a single large room, measuring approximately thirty by forty feet with ceilings about fourteen feet high. Tall, narrow windows, each with thirty-six small panes that are no longer a standard size but must be custom-cut, provide light and air as well as a panoramic view of the quiet, wooded countryside and the adjoining cemetery. Perhaps because it was also used as a school, its design includes a door and three windows on each side instead of the more traditional four windows on each side. Two windows of the same size as those on the side walls flank the central pulpit area’s back wall. Unlike the more traditional southern rural chapel, its front double doors also have such a window on each side. This arrangement of windows on all four sides provides a particularly light and airy effect to the interior. A small, covered porch was added to the front entrance around 1940, at the same time that native rock “skirting” was set around three sides of the base. The rear wall was left open and the original beams and low rock piers can be seen. Wheelchair ramps were added in the 1980’s or 1990’s. Reflecting the completely austere original design, these additions are plain and functional rather than decorative. The 19th century horizontal board siding has always been kept painted plain white, without trim, and though well-preserved, reflects its age. The roof is galvanized tin. In keeping with the Wesleyan chapel tradition of its original members, it does not have a steeple.
The interior walls have the varnished “carsiding” wainscoat popular in the late 19th century and both floor and ceiling are hardwood. The pulpit area is a simple, one-step raised platform across the north end of the building. A framed reproduction of Sallman’s “Head of Christ”, which hangs on the center back wall, represents a fairly recent addition (c. 1945) and the only one which could be considered as decorative rather than completely functional. The original simple wooden benches were replaced a number of years ago, more because of wear than for aesthetic reasons. Purchased from another church that was upgrading its seating, the present turn-of-the-century style pews are in keeping with the building itself.