HISTORIC WOOLSEY CHURCH
“These historic rural churches of Georgia are a vital part of who we are and how we got here.
Most of them are still there, on lonely back roads or in rural villages–some of which have virtually disappeared.
They should be treasured and preserved for future generations.”
– Sonny Seals and George Hart, Historic Rural Churches of Georgia
"People in a community share a sense of
its identity and character, which is often
represented by the old places that
serve as community landmarks."
– Thompson M. Mayes, Why Old Places Matter
Help Save Historic Woolsey Church!
Harmony Grove Missionary Baptist Church, began on August 26, 1888, in Woolsey, Georgia, with twenty-three charter members, in a little store on the east side of the Southern Railroad. Reverend I. G. Woolsey, M.D. served as its first pastor. A building committee, appointed on October 6, 1888, oversaw the building of the church which was 36' x 50'. The church members held a dedication service on March 3, 1889.
On October 2, 1904, Harmony Grove Baptist Church changed its name to Woolsey Baptist Church. The original steeple was removed in 1947 when a storm damaged it. In 1950, removing the original two separate doors and replacing them with a centered double door changed the look of the front of the church, and classrooms were added across the back. In 1963, the church added the fellowship hall/annex. To prevent confusion with the newer Woolsey Baptist Church, the historic church is now called Historic Woolsey Church.
According to Preservationist Ryan Arvay, "The Historic Woolsey Baptist Church is an excellent example of a 19th-century rural church in Georgia. Though the building has obviously been altered over time, those additions and changes are largely reversible. Though new hardwood floors cover the original; though drywall covers the old tongue & groove walls; and though a drop ceiling obscures the original bead board - these elements can all be removed with little to no impact to the historic structure. We are fortunate that these elements survive but have simply been covered up. The same is true on the exterior of the church, where vinyl siding has simply covered up old wood siding. In many cases the vinyl actually protects the exterior wood."
Our initial project includes the restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation of the Historic Woolsey Church and Annex bringing both back into community service. The deteriorating structure is in the town center, and its restoration will contribute to the community's beautification. As we continue to unearth more historic photos and documents, the restoration of the church may change. A recently discovered photo shows the original steeple in the background behind the stores in Woolsey (from the Bobby Jackson Collection courtesy of Mort Sams).
Once restored, the church (conceptual rendering above) will provide a gathering place for community, religious, educational, civic, literary, and cultural arts programs and events for not only the community of Woolsey, Georgia but also for Fayette County and surrounding areas.
242 Hampton Rd.
Fayetteville, Georgia 30215