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Historic church has new home at museum

July 26, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The old log church, which used to be off Mt. Tabor Road north of Huyetts Crossroads, was rotting away and was about to be torn down.

Now it has a new home at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, where future generations will be able to learn about early life in Washington County.

The Mount Tabor United Brethren Church was organized in 1845 and services were held in a private home, a barn and an old schoolhouse before the church was built in 1853, according to historical accounts.

The church served as a place of worship for more than 140 years, according to historical accounts.

Then one day David Resh Jr. got a phone call.

Resh, whose great-great-great uncle was a founder of the church, was told that the building was going to be torn down.

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Resh jumped at the chance to save the church and contacted a local historical organization for help.

He worked out an agreement with the owners of the church and a man who had already started dismantling it, and was able to acquire the structure in 1991.

The plan was to take the church to a village being created at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum that portrays life in the county around the 1800s.

The log structure was dismantled, moved to the museum's site next to the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, and rebuilt, Resh said.

The church was dedicated Sunday, along with the Reeder Cabin and the Poffenberger Cabin in the village. About 50 people turned out to see the church at its new location.

Resh spoke during the dedication as people crowded into the small church on a hot afternoon to learn about its history.

Resh pointed out features in the church, like an iron bar that stretched across the room to keep the walls from bulging.

After construction, the logs on the exterior were left exposed until they dried out, Resh said. Then siding was added, he said.

"I'm just totally elated," Resh said after Sunday's ceremonies. "At least the building has been preserved for future generations to interpret."

Marge Peters, former president of the Friends of the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, which raised money for the village, said it is important to have buildings that reveal the county's history.

"I'm a firm believer that we have to know where we've been before we know where we're going," Peters said.

Other features of the church included two front doors, one through which women could enter through and the other for men.

"I think it's pretty cool," said Pat Ardinger, a member of Friends of the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum.

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