Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church Moves to Frontier Culture Museum

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Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church

The Frontier Culture Museum is bringing a historic church that dates back to the Civil War era to life.

When members of the congregation at the Mount Tabor United Methodist Church in Augusta County realized an important piece of their history was falling apart, they started asking how they could honor their past. The museum is in the process of dismantling the structure and bringing it over to Staunton.

Not only will this project restore the building that holds so many memories, but it also fits in to a larger picture of recognizing diversity. Hattie Casey, who manages pastor and parish relations here, has belonged to the church for 83 years. Her family passed it down from generation to generation.

"For our forefathers, who spent so much time and effort to build it, go to school, go to church, here in this same building, what could we do to maintain or to see it in the future?" she stated.

So when the old church fell out of use, church trustee Sadie Graves wrote a letter to the museum, asking for help to save it. It turned out to mesh perfectly with executive director John Avoli's vision.

"And it'll fit right in very nicely with Montgomery Springs Village, which will be a linear village of the Shenandoah Valley pre-1850. And as you know this will fit in to our project there with the master site plan, it's in recognition of the efforts and the contributions of the slaves to the western frontier," he stated.

While curator Ray Wright says they'll have to replace some logs and fill in a few gaps, he thinks the exhibit will shape up nicely.

Museum curators also hope to learn more about the church once they can transport all the materials over to Staunton by the end of next week. One major question still remains and that's determining the exact age of the building.

This project was all possible thanks to a $40,000 grant from Dominion resources.