The 100-year-old Wilders Chapel AME Church in Maryville recently got a new home in Townsend, and the grand old chapel got an escort and curb service.
The historic AME church on Amerine Road in Blount County was on property the Heritage Center recently acquired, so they moved the building the Heritage Center Friday morning, March 19.
The body of the structure (minus the roof which has been removed and will be replaced) and the bell from the bell tower, was moved by Layman Construction and Professional House Movers of Parrotsville. The movers took the church building to East Lamar Alexander Parkway toward Townsend, through the two-lane Walland gap, and into Townsend where it was taken to the Heritage Center at the far end of town.
The Heritage Center acquired the church building from the Wilders Cemetery Association this winter to put in the center’s historic village on the Heritage Center property. The church is characteristic of the region’s early houses of worship.
The white clapboard building will seat 50-60 people once pews are installed. The church is to be available for weddings, renewal of vows, harp singings and more, as well as being a part of the Center’s museum tour.