National Park Service
The church at Blue Heron was built at the initiation of camp supervisor, Lemmie Wright, who put down $100.00 of his own money to begin the project. The Joy Company, maker of mining equipment, reportedly gave money for the church as well. The labor came from those who lived and worked in the camp, and the materials were purchased by pledge. Each church member was to pay on the church until his pledge was met.
This congregation was Southern Baptist, holding church meeting for business on Saturday night, prayer meeting on Wednesday, and Sunday school and regular service on Sunday. According to the faith, baptism occurred by decision at "the age of reason," and ministers were "called" to preach, then ordained by the church governors, called the presbytery.
The service was fairly simple and direct, but long by some people’s thinking, often lasting two or three hours.
There were three or more hymns selected by the minister, choir or members of the congregation, a scripture reading, prayer and a "message" or sermon usually preached interpreting a biblical passage. There was also an effort to encourage the congregation to a stronger faith or to "be saved" if they had not yet been.
The church, church music and the life of faith were central to Blue Heron people, and to the people of the region generally.
The church was also the core of courtship and social life in a community where there was little entertainment, and dating rules were stringent. It can truly be said that the church was the center of the camp's community culture.
Listen to church at Blue Heron.
To continue your visit through the Blue Heron Mining Community, choose the next "ghost structure" you wish to visit.
Did You Know?
In the mid-1990's black bear were released in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area to study relocation techniques and to determine whether adequate habitat existed in the area. There are now an estimated 40 - 50 bear living in and around the park. More...