BUMC applies for landmarks, heritage distinction

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2019

For those who have had déjà  vu experiences, it would be a good guess that those experiences are, in some way, related to a church. And, especially for members of Protestant churches that were built during the 1880-1920-time period and according to the Akron Plan.

“Churches built according to the Akron Plan were built all across the country and are the reasons people familiar with the church plan have  déjà vu experiences when viewing a church built according to ‘the plan,’” said Kathy Sauer, a local history enthusiast. “There are many variations of the Akron Plan but all included Sunday school rooms. A prime example of an Akron Plan church is Brundidge United Methodist Church that was built during 1919.”

Sauer was in Brundidge Tuesday afternoon to deliver the completed application for listing on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage to the Rev. Ed Shirley, pastor of BUMC, along with its application for the listing of Clay Hill Church, circa 1839.

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Sauer said she enjoys researching and photographing churches and historic buildings for listing on the Alabama Historical Commission’s  Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Shirley said BUMC is a city landmark as well as a historical Methodist church. He expressed appreciation to Sauer for her assistance in preparing the application and for her continued assistance with the application process for Clay Hill Church.

“It is important to have these structures listed so that historical significance will be preserved,” said Sauer, who volunteered to assist with the research and photography necessary to complete the application process. “BUMC and Clay Hill are different in the congregations served, one being urban and the other rural, but they were centers of their communities and have proud histories that should be preserved.”

Sauer prepared the application for the Johnston Peanut Butter Mill that houses the Brundidge Historical Society’s museum of local history. The Johnston Mill and the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library are the city’s listings on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

And, there should be more, Sauer said.

“Brundidge has a wealth of buildings that are eligible for listing on the Register of Landmarks and Heritage,”  she said. “The listing designates a single building or an entire downtown or district worthy of preservation. The designation is honorary and carries no restrictions or financial incentives. But, the designation is incentive to protect and preserve these buildings, sites, structures, objects, districts and cultural landscapes for future generations.”

Too often, the loss of historical treasures is lamented and, had they been designated as historically significant, perhaps, they would remain, Sauer said.

“This is Alabama’s Bicentennial year and wouldn’t it be beneficial if more of our “treasures” were recognized and preserved,” she said.

Sauer is willing to assist individuals or groups with the application process for designation on the Alabama  Register. Contact her by email at kathleens@troycable.net or Hannah Garmon at 334-230-2644 or Hannah.garmon@ahc.alabama.gov.