The Church

Baptisms at Blue Heron occured in the Big South Fork River.
Baptisms at Blue Heron occurred in the Big South Fork River.

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, 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.

To continue your visit through the Blue Heron Mining Community, choose the next "ghost structure" you wish to visit.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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