Last week’s historical photo challenge didn’t offer much in the way of contextual clue, but one reader got it right.
JoAnn Richardson hit the nail on the head with this comment:
This is Ebenezer AME Church on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, PA. There is a cemetary on the property as well.
That’s correct. The church was built circa 1835 and is still barely standing today.
Apparently the oldest grave stones in the cemetery date back to the 1830s. An Eagle Scout named Matthew Nehring had been working on uncovering the gravestones. (Have no idea if his project is finished.) According to the photos it appears some of the dead buried here are soldiers and veterans. One gravestone is for a Joshua Johnson (Pvt., Co. K, 45th Reg., United States Colored Troops (USCT) (Civil War). I find this to be incredibly historically significant as the army began to organize African Americans into regimental units known as the United States Colored Troops (USCT) in 1863.
According to the East Whiteland Historical Society (which I am not sure what they do because all I see are historic structures rotting in East Whiteland) this church used to serve as a “hub” of African American society in Frazer. So why isn’t any of it being protected?
The church was used through into the 20th century as per Patch and the information from East Whiteland, and now it is abandoned. So who owns the graveyard and the church? In Radnor, the Radnor Historical Society has been caring for the historically important and abandoned First Baptist Cemetery off Conestoga Road. They have gotten volunteers to help keep weeds in check and right upended grave stones. So why is it that East Whiteland always seems to be Johnny on the Spot for historical data yet all this stuff just rots?
I understand completely that you can’t save every old house or church, but wow, people including soldiers who fought and served are buried here. Show them some respect. Shame on East Whiteland for not trying to find avenues of preservation for this and other sites.
I think I am going to go back out there and photograph graves when the weather improves and the ground isn’t so soft from rain. But who owns the land? Is it truly abandoned?