DONOVAN MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Monday, November 20, 2017
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Old Salem Church

 
Old Salem (1833) was the mother church building for our church today.  The church was moved to Singers Glen and restored with the vision of and help from many people
 
(Click picture for larger version)
 
 
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It has been re-established as a chapel that will serve as a memorial
to the Christian congregations that shaped the character and
culture of NW Rockingham County, Virginia.
 
 
  The  Story of Old Salem Church 
 
 This log building was built in 1833 as Green Hill Methodist Episcopal Meeting House.  It was located on the northeast side of Green Hill along Joes Creek northwest of Edom. 
 
Land for the church was donated by Rudolph Moyers, who, along with Levi May, helped with its construction.  By 1850 the Methodists no longer used the church, and a Lutheran minister from Harrisonburg began holding services in the building.
 
In 1863, during the Civil War, the church was bought for $500 by local members of the United Brethren in Christ Church. They moved the building to a rocky field on the Abram Ralston farm about 1½  miles north of Singers Glen along the Back Road, current Turleytown Road. The rebuilt church was dedicated in December, 1863 as Salem United Brethren in Christ Church.
 
During the quarter century that Salem was used by members of the United Brethren Church, it became the mother church of at least five other United Brethren congregations, including Singers Glen, Cherry Grove, and several United Brethren churches in the Cootes Store and Brocks Gap area. 
 
In the late 1880’s, due to its dilapidated condition, Salem was abandoned by the United Brethren. It was last used in the early 1900s as a mission site for preaching by Cooks Creek Presbyterian Church. 
 
During much of the twentieth century, it served as a barn and stable on the Hiram and Robert Brown farm.
 
Old Salem was dismantled in 2005, moved to Singers Glen, and rebuilt in 2006-08 as an historic chapel for the community.
  
 
 
    2008 Dedication Day
 
            
 
 
 
 
 
  2007 Construction Continues      (Click picture for larger version)
 
    
      
   
 
Old Salem Update  ~ September 2006
As of August 19, there are nine logs set in place and bolted down on the foundation of Old Salem Church. These were replaced without the use of a crane, but the height the remaining logs need to be hoisted means that a crane will be needed from here on. The remaining logs have been grouped on the ground by the wall-north, south, east, or west-they are part of. The next step will require patching some bad spots in the remaining logs with good, solid oak sections that can be salvaged from the logs that needed replacing, or from new logs cut for this purpose.

The restoration group will meet August 21 to set a schedule for rebuilding the rest of the walls. As things now stand, plans call for having the wall reconstruction finished by the end of September. Following this, a roof will need to be installed to form a protective cover on the building for the harsh winter weather to come.

If you would like to help with the project, let Reverend McMillion know. We can often use more help.

 

Our goal for special giving in April, 2006 was Old Salem.  April was chosen, in part, because it was the month in which the most dramatic progress in the restoration efforts were visible, and because it was the month when most of the money in our fund was to be spent.
  
Why is Old Salem worthy of your support? 

*    It was built in 1833 as one of the earliest Methodist churches in Rockingham County. None still exist from that period, except Old Salem.

*    It was the only United Brethren in Christ church started in Virginia during the Civil War.

*    There were eight U. B. churches in Rockingham that were established earlier, including Whitesel’s near Pleasant Valley. Of those still in existence, only the church at Criders is an older established church, but its building is 22 years younger than Old Salem.

*    Old Salem was the mother church of this church and Cherry Grove.

For these reasons and more, the restoration and preservation of Old Salem Church as an important institution of our religious heritage is worthy of your support. 
 

 
 
   Fall 2006 Construction Begins
 
                           
 
                                     
         
       
 
 
 
Moving Week for Old Salem 3-06
 


1.  Ray Wright preparing the logs.  Ray is from
The
Frontier Museum in Staunton and he is
our architect,
advisor and restorer.


2.  Removing the first log.


 


3.  Note red marking code as set up by
Ray Wrignt,
Dr. Clarence Geier, and his

anthopology students from J.M.U.
 


4.  Removing the last log.  A few
     were
too decayed to use. 

 

 


5.  Arriving in Singers Glen, the new location. 


6.  Unloading on the new site,
     the lot beside the church.
 

 
 
 
  2-20-06 Removing the Roof
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   2005:
 
Coding the logs for
reconstruction.
11-21-05
Coded and ready to go.
11-21-05
 
 
  7-30-05   Work Day
 
 
   
 
   
 
 
   2005 May Update
 

  2004 December Update
 
 
  2004 Fall Update
 
 
 
  10-2-04   Work Day
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  9-29-04   Work Day 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  2004 - The Year the Plan Started Into Action

For a number of years Old Salem Church, which was the mother church for both Cherry Grove and Donovan Memorial, has sat abandoned. That is about to change. Through the generosity of many, plans are being made to restore this piece of our heritage. The plans for relocating old Salem Church to Singers Glen, where it will be used once again as a place of worship, are now in the early stages of development. 

The old church is in very good condition and much of the original structure will be put up in its new home. The building itself and foundation stones, which were originally part of the old Weavers Mennonite church, have already been donated. 

Students under the leadership of Dr. Clarence Geier of James Madison University, have done a study of the building and made a site map which will be used to restore the building to its original form. There is still much work to do before the dream of restoring this church can become a reality. 

We are looking for anyone who would like to be involved in this project. There are a number of different things needed. We will need people who can provide labor, people who have expertise in construction, people to help raise funds to pay for the move, people to plan and coordinate the operation, and volunteers in other areas. If you would like to be a part of restoring Old Salem Church, contact Clarence Geier at 833-5216. 
          
 Dr. Geier and his archeology students start the project of preparing the Old Salem Church for the move to Singers Glen.  They worked hard several days in the spring of 2004.  They were pleasantly surprised with a picnic lunch prepared by Jeanette McMillion, our pastor's wife.

 

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