The church above is being moved from contaminated ground caused over the decades by the Atlanta Gas-light company. It was slated to be torn down but because of its historic nature, they are moving it across the street. I had no idea a brick church, that size, could be moved. Incredible!
Church is just two blocks behind my former parish, The Church of the Most Holy Trinity, and yes our ground was contaminated too, but not like the ground where the church being moved was.
Here is the Augusta Chronicle article that accompanies the above video:
Supporters prayed and sang as the historic “Mother Trinity” church, considered the birthplace of the Christian Methodist Episcopal denomination, began her short but slow journey across Taylor Street on Wednesday.
“What a glorious day it is,” said the Rev. Herman “Skip” Mason, pastor of Augusta’s new Trinity CME, where members relocated in the late 1990s from downtown Augusta. “We give glory to God, but we also must give thanks to the Augusta Canal Authority.”
Mason said the short move, about 250 feet to a new site closer to the Augusta Canal, “doesn’t take it too much out of its historical context” and that he hopes the church enjoys “a new life and a new purpose” in its new location.
The canal authority spearheaded the latest in a nearly 20-year push to save the historic church, which was built by former slaves in the 1890s at the site of CME’s founding a half-century earlier. Despite its historic past, the church was targeted for demolition by Atlanta Gas Light as part of a massive remediation effort to remove coal tar contamination from the soil that began in the 1990s.
he authority led the “Save Mother Trinity” effort which raised $475,000 to relocate, rather than demolish the church, and Authority Executive Director Dayton Sherrouse said the church’s story continued Wednesday as organizers determine how to renovate and put the church to new use.
“Eventually we’ll find the right thing to do with her so she can shine her light into the 21st century,” said Rebecca Rogers, authority director of marketing and public relations.
The relocated church’s future remains uncertain, but will be aided by a $15,000 grant the canal authority obtained last week to develop a plan and make recommendation for its use, Rogers said. Plans could include a connection with nearby Dyess Park, she said.
Gil Gilyard watched the move on the 47th anniversary of his wedding there on June 13, 1971. Gilyard said he’d been involved when the church served as lead plaintiff in litigation against Atlanta Gas Light, which eventually settled the contamination claims.
Louise Lee, 92, likely one of the oldest Trinity members to witness the church move Wednesday, said she recalled some in the congregation crying over the decision to relocate in the 1990s, but she did not. Now things are turning around.
“If it had to be done, it had to be done,” Lee said. “I try to deal with things as they happen.”
Teresa Shanks Brooks said she first attended Trinity as a child while visiting her aunt, who lived on Taylor Street. “This is history here,” Brooks said.
Frank Lampkin grew up on Taylor Street and watched the church move in disbelief. “I’m just surprised because I had no idea they could do that,” he said.
The move was slow and the church hadn’t reached a platform across Taylor Street by noon. The move was later halted and will begin again at 9 a.m. today.
During the move, Melody Meriweather said she had the “best seat in the house” as she fished in the nearby canal with a perfect view of the move.
The estimated 400-ton brick church was hoisted on steel girders and special dollies in preparation for the move, which was orchestrated by John Landers of Hercules House Movers. The schedule for moving the church was delayed by recent heavy rains.
Observer Darrin Nix said he was pleased to see the community come together to accomplish the move.
“People have to rally behind a cause,” Nix said. “They can’t just armchair quarterback.”