Picturesque Red Chapel in Rural Alabama

St. Andrews Episcopal Church | Hale County, Alabama | c. 1834

 

Upon first approach to this eye-catching structure, you’ll undoubtedly be struck by the vibrant red that adorns her board and batten walls. But this spectacle of color is just the first magnificent layer to take in at this historic site.

Photo c. 1962 from John E. Scott

Sometime around 1834, a mission was organized here by Rev. Caleb S. Ives for settlers coming to the Canebrake from the Atlantic Seaboard. Ten years later, this was named a parish of the Diocese of Alabama and in 1851, this site was selected for the construction of a Greek Revival style church building which was built from 1853-54. The design is thought to have been done by famous New York architect, Richard Upjohn.

This church has caught the eye of many a passerby and as a result, has been well documented by official entities, and hobbyists over the years. In 1936, St. Andrews was photographed for the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) by photographer Alex Bush.

These photos reside now with the Library of Congress. In 1973, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was declared a National Historic Landmark that same year.

The cemetery is wonderfully maintained and has some remarkable stonework to see. According to info from Find A Grave, there are at least 317 internments here.

Architectural features:

  • The exterior of the church features wooden board and batten with buttresses and a steeply pitched roof.
  • The interior of the church is notable for its beautiful woodwork – symbols and figures on the altar rail and in the chancel were hand-carved.
  • The interior walls were reportedly stained with a mixture brewed from tobacco plants.
  • The interior is virtually unaltered, including original altar rail and chancel furnishings, pews, organ, and stained glass.

**Information from the historic marker, National Register application, and Rural SW Alabama

c. 1936 From Photographer Alex Bush on Behalf of the Library of Congress
c. 1936 From Photographer Alex Bush on Behalf of the Library of Congress


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