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19th Century church recognized for historic value to Jefferson County

By Staff | Sep 23, 2016

Submitted photo Bethesda United Methodist Church has been designated as a Jefferson County Historic Landmark by the county’s Historic Landmark Commission.

A unanimous vote designated the Bethesda United Methodist Church a Jefferson County Historic Landmark by the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission (JCHLC) at its Aug. 17 meeting. The 140-year-old structure remains an active church today and its value as a historic structure has long been recognized by both the congregation and visitors to Jefferson County.

Bethesda Church was built in 1874 near Shepherdstown, when Lee Henry Moler granted 64 square perches of his Linden Spring estate to the friends and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The congregation had previously been participants in interdenominational meetings at the nearby Reinhart schoolhouse, which began in 1851 and included adherents of the Lutheran, Reform and Episcopal churches. The first pastor, Reverend A. A. P. Neal, christened the church “Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church South” after the Pool of Bethesda where Christ healed a lame man. The church was dedicated on Dec. 20, 1874 by Reverend G. T. Tyler.

JCHLC nominated the historic church under Criteria A which states that a site may be nominated if, in the opinion of the JCHLC, it is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.

JCHLC will present a bronze plaque to the congregation, signifying Bethesda Church’s Historic Landmarks designation, at a special ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. The historic church is located at 22 Knott Road, Shepherdstown.