Liberty Baptist Church
Liberty Church Road, Grooverville, Georgia
+30.72222, -83.7281130°43'20" N, 83°43'41" W
Liberty Baptist Church is significant at the local level under Criterion C in the area of architecture as an excellent and rare surviving example of a small antebellum church in southwest Georgia. It meets Criteria Consideration A because it derives its primary significance from architectural distinction. The founding members of Liberty Church purchased a tract of land in c.1857 and constructed their own building from local materials c.1858, likely with the assistance of slave labor. (After emancipation, African Americans who had attended Liberty Baptist Church formed the First Elizabeth Baptist Church.) The building is an outstanding example of a mid-19th_century rural church in southern Georgia. Its vernacular form is functional, well-crafted, and refined, yet not ostentatious or ornate. While the designer of the church is unknown, its builders were obviously familiar with popular interpretations of the Greek Revival style as expressed in the front gable and portico. Gothic Revival features are seen in the elegant windows and doors. Local forests were once covered with the Southern Longleaf yellow pine that was used for part of this church. This building material had structural strength due to its tight ring pattern growth. It is rare for a building of the antebellum era to survive with such a high degree of integrity, with almost no alterations to the exterior or to the main worship space. The intact balcony reflects the practice of including enslaved persons in the worship service by providing a separate space, accessible by its own door from the outside. The period of significance continues to c.1952 to include the rear addition, which was constructed for a social hall, Sunday school, and restrooms, a common practice that would have contributed to the building's continued viability as a place of worship.
- February 19, 2020: Updated by Michael Miller: Corrected "GPS Coordinates"
- January 30, 2014: Added by Brian Bartlett