Maintaining support

Bethel Baptist Church members work to preserve historic building

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ELLERBE — A building dating back to 1845 is expected to remain the home of a congregation that dates back to 1775.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Mike Turner helps guide a new rafter through the second-story window of Bethel Baptist Church.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Mike Turner helps guide a new rafter through the second-story window of Bethel Baptist Church.

Volunteers and members of Bethel Baptist Church on Grassy Island Road, situated overlooking the Pee Dee River a few miles outside Ellerbe proper, took advantage of an unseasonably cool and comfortable 50-degree temperature to make repairs to the rafters that hold up the weight of the roof and church steeple.

The church became a member of the Pee Dee Baptist Association in 1937 under the name River View Church. The name subsequently changed to Bethel Baptist Church. The building had first been a methodist charge. The first Bethel Church was organized in 1775. The current building was converted into a church sometime in the 1870s.

“We were having structural problems,” said member Ronnie Hawks, “and there’s a beam going down through the center of this building. All these ceiling joists … the system that they had holding that up was failing, so we took that out and put this steel beam in.”

Part of Saturday morning was spent cutting, fitting and installing new rafters to replace those that had deteriorated beyond use. The church received some good news recently when Stogner Architecture, of Rockingham, conducting an analysis and engineering of the building.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com One of two rafters failing under the roof of Bethel Baptist Church.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
One of two rafters failing under the roof of Bethel Baptist Church.

The result, Hawks said, “really encouraged us because the old building is more sound than what we really thought.”

In the church hall, a 42-foot long wooden beam was reinforced with steel.

“Originally, it had maybe two columns,” Hawks said. “We know one was there. It had another one on down there … but nobody here’s old enough to remember that. Sometime in the ’40s, I think, they took the posts out and put that system in up there to hold it up. It worked for a long time, but over time, it has failed, so we put that steel up there.”

 

 

 

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Bethel Baptist Church members worked Saturday morning to help repair rafters that support the roof and church steeple. From left to right: Donald Huggins, Evan Hawks, Vergil Messer, Delma King, Mike Turner, Travis Nichols, Ronnie Hawks and Bennett Hawks.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Bethel Baptist Church members worked Saturday morning to help repair rafters that support the roof and church steeple. From left to right: Donald Huggins, Evan Hawks, Vergil Messer, Delma King, Mike Turner, Travis Nichols, Ronnie Hawks and Bennett Hawks.

 

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  • Wayne Stogner

    Good to see someone doing reporting on items related to the history of the county.

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