ALTO, La. (KNOE) - Members of the Alto Presbyterian Church are fighting to save its building. The church was originally built in 1873, but now only holds services just a few times throughout the year because of its current condition.
The church was built in 1873. (Source: KNOE)
"So deep in history." That’s how New Covenant Parish Pastor John Albright remembers the history of the church. "It's just a few seasons, a few years after the Civil War ended that this church was built, and these people were bruised and broken,” Albright says. “But, they found a way to gather the resources and find the resolve to build a church."
Now, members now doing whatever they can to save their 146-year old church. So, far they have raised more than $33,000 of their $40,000 goal to try to begin fixing structural damages like raising the foundation.
Alto Presbyterian Church has also applied to the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation to be designated as one of the state’s “most endangered places.”
“Being recognized as an endangered place in the state of Louisiana will, in all likelihood, give us access to more resources that we can use to save our structure and to help keep our parish community going," Brian Sivils says.
"For instance, we're having a hard time finding local people that have the skillset to raise the building so that we can repair the foundation."
Sivils says that foundation holds a rich history for not only the church, but the Alto community as well. "In our bell tower is the bell from the very last steam ship to ever come up the Boeuf River. So, preserving our heritage isn't just an idea or a concept. It's got to be an active thing that has to happen."
The history he hopes to preserve with the designation even stretches behind the building. "Our graveyard does predate the Civil War, and our oral tradition here at the church tells us that we have servants and slaves buried in the back, but we have never had the resources or the expertise to explore that,” Sivils says. “That's one of the things I think would be important to just to understand exactly who lived and worked here."
"And keep that family of faith and that Presbyterian tradition of worship going for many years to come,” Albright adds.
To help the church continue to raise money, you can follow the church’s Facebook page.