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Preservation group chooses Berea Church CHURCH HISTORY
New ornament in SPFI series

Visit the Photo Place

Date published: 12/16/2008


Spotsylvania Preservation Foundation Inc. has unveiled its latest holiday ornament.

This year, the golden ornament depicts Old Berea Church, which houses the Spotsylvania County Museum. The museum is run by the Spotsylvania Historical Society.

Ornaments can be purchased for $15 at the county treasurer's office, the visitors centers at Spotsylvania Courthouse and Massaponax, the Spotsylvania Museum, the Courthouse Cafe and Snow Library.

Previous ornaments in the series have depicted Spot-sylvania Court-house, the 1855 jail, Sanford Tavern, Spotsylvania High School, the Confederate Cemetery and the courthouse bell.

Proceeds from ornament sales have been used over the years to complete restoration of the 1855 jail at Spotsylvania Courthouse. The jail is open to visitors by request at the Spotsylvania Visitors Center across the street from the jail on Courthouse Road. A recorded message talks about some of the oddities of the jail, as well as some of its many stories. Visitors can go into the cells to view graffiti on the walls. Sales of new ornaments will go to upkeep of the jail building.

For more information about Spotsylvania Preservation Foundation Inc., visit spfi.org.

Annette Jones: 540/368-5046
Email: abjones@freelancestar.com

Berea Church, now the Spotsylvania County Museum, was built in 1856 under the supervision of architect/builder Samuel Alsop Jr. The congregation was organized in 1832 at its original location on Block House Road near the previous county courthouse.

In March 1961 officers and descendents of former members deeded the church and parcel to Spotsylvania County in return for fencing and maintaining the cemetery. Buried there is builder Samuel Alsop Jr., who lived from 1776 to 1859.

The building was damaged severely by fire July 3, 1899. During repairs, then-stylish lancet windows replaced the originals, lending a Gothic air to the exterior.

In October 1961 the Spotsylvania Civil War Centennial Committee petitioned the Board of Supervisors for use of the church to prepare for events associated with a 1964 centennial commemoration of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

The Spotsylvania Historic Association Inc., founded in 1962, continues to operate the county museum there in cooperation with Spotsylvania County.

--Spotsylvania Preservation Foundation Inc.