Early Powder Springs Black Churches and Schools

This historical information was compiled by Sarah Frances Miller in the 70’s & 80’s and is available in our Powder Springs History binder located in the library room in the museum. You can also visit our Black History displays (pictured) and purchase a copy of “Powder Springs Has Some Deep Roots In It” – An Oral History Portrait of an African American Community by Ann McCleary, Catherine Henricks, and Stephanie Wright.

“For far as we can ascertain there have been two black Methodist churches in Powder Springs – Kite’s Chapel and Davis Chapel. Kite’s Chapel was located on what is now Butler Street, almost on the same site where Ruthie White’s house now stands. It was blown down by a wind storm around 40 years ago. The Reverend Hamilton was one of the pastors of Kite’s Chapel.

Davis Chapel was located on Macland Road near the overhead bridge next door to the home of Andy and Laura Davis. Going from Powder Springs to Macland it was on the left hand side of the road. The Reverend Morgan was one of the pastors of this church. According to the minutes of the Powder Springs City Council, May 1935, the church was ordered to discontinue holding meetings because the residents of the area objected to the noise and the disturbance. The following appeared in the minutes of the city council on May 5, 1940. “Motion passed that the black church by the Seaboard bridge be and is hereby condemned as a fire trap. Notice of the same to be posted for thirty days.”

The black Baptist church located on Brownsville Road is the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. After the Civil War, in 1867, the blacks, in search of their own religious life, separated from the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. They worshiped for three years under a brush arbor. The Reverend Seaborn Rucker was their first pastor. A church site was obtained and a donation of a barn was made to them by the Pleasant Hill Church. A plank church was built. Reverend Barber was there for many years in the plank church. During the pastorate of the Rev. R. H. Williams, this old building was torn down and a new structure was erected. The Rev. W. A. Bowen followed by Rev. Williams as pastor and under his leadership, heat and water were put in the building, and the building was brick veneered. Pews, pulpit furniture and two pianos were purchased. The next pastor was the Rev. J. C. Carter. It was during his pastorate that the church was completely remodeled, and the cornerstone was laid October 6, 1974. The New Hope Cemetery is adjacent to the church.

Two Broadnax brothers gave land for the Macedonia Baptist Church located on Macedonia Road. The church was founded about 1896. Early members were the Broadnax, Wyatt and Stiles families. Pastors include Rev. I. P. Ward, Rev. Alexander Penn, Rev. Calvin and presently Rev. Lennie Gunn. Annie Wolf has written a history of the church which is in its second building.

Rev. Sandy Young lived in Powder Springs. He had a barber shop in downtown Powder Springs for a long time. He and his wife, Hattie Turner, and their eighteen children raised cotton on a farm where Florence Estates begins. He served Methodist churches, Prodigal and Cavalry.

Rev. Alexander Penn served many Baptist churches in the area. He was at Mt. Zion Baptist on Brownsville Road for a long time. He served Big Bethel on Marietta Road, Sweet Home in Hiram and Macedonia in Powder Springs. He was moderator of the Friendship Association which includes New Hope Church in Powder Springs. His wife was Bunch and they had sixteen children.

A more recently established church is the black Church of God In Christ, which was located on Long Street in Powder Springs. This church was built in 1954. The building was made possible largely through the efforts of Ethel Clark. The late Bishop James J. Hensley was in charge of the dedication service on July 18, 1954. The first pastor was Elder Arthur Jones, Sr. Some of the first members were: Ethel Clark, Annie Mae Kimball, Gracie Young, Essie Clark, and Jake Marshall. Ethel Clark was the church secretary.

The first black school that anyone in the community seems to remember was a two story building that was located across the railroad about where the Happy Valley Trailer Court is now located. Students who attended the school say that it stood across from what was then the Jim Florence place. One of the long time principals was Mr. C. D. Evans. Mr. Evans’s wife was his assistant teacher. The Mizelles, the Waldons, the Weddingtons, the Holcombs, and most of the black children in the community attended this school. When this building fell into bad repair the school was moved to a new site on Brownsville Road adjacent to the New Hope Church and cemetery. Later this school became an elementary school, and the county had an arrangement with the Marietta School Board for the Powder Springs black high school students to attend Lemon Street High School in Marietta. The school by the church and the arrangement with Marietta lasted until Cobb County Schools were desegregated and all of the children attended the same schools. The black school building by the church was sold and made into a dwelling which still stands.

Some of the early teachers were S. S. Broadnax, Samuel S. Young, and James M. McAfee. They taught in the 1890’s.”

More photos from New Hope Missionary Baptist Church

Senior Citizens Remember (Part I): Loving Memories Preserved

In 1910, V. A. Lovinggood moved to Powder Springs with his bride who had left her position as stenographer with Uncle Remus Magazine in Atlanta to establish a home. Mr. Lovinggood recounts with a smile his wife’s singing ability and trips to attend the singing school which was located near Powder Springs. In addition to being a fine singer, Mr. Lovinggood remembers that his wife was the “biggest talker in the world.” In 1918 the couple purchased sixty acres of farmland near Powder Springs for $3,600, reportedly the highest price ever paid for land in the area. (A half-acre parcel of the same land recently sold for $3,500.) With his farm prospering, Mr. Lovinggood was presented the opportunity to purchase a store in Powder Springs. Reluctantly at first, Mr. Lovinggood, with the help of his father and his brother Albert, bought the store. Gradually, the store occupied greater and greater attention and Mr. Lovinggood operated it actively until 1970.

Always a farmer, Mr. Lovinggood raised much of the produce and livestock that maintained both his table and his storeroom. His memories include some of the hardest times in this country’s history and he tells of feeding people who came to him crying for bread during the Depression. At one point in 1930, cotton, which had been the major money crop of this and many other farming communities throughout the South, sold for 5 cents per pound. Mr. Lovinggood remembers speculating on some 12-14 bales at 5 cents per pound and later selling the cotton to a broker for 10 cents per pound. High finance was very limited for merchants during this time.

Such crops as peaches and tomatoes were attempted after the destruction of cotton by the boll weevil. Although relatively unsuccessful, the attempts did lead to such enterprises as the cultivation of sorghum and the resulting grinding and preparation of syrup. Describing himself as “born and raised in a syrup mill”, Mr. Lovinggood and his family operated a sorghum mill which handled the needs of farmers from many miles around. Even a relatively successful enterprise like the sorghum mill was limited by modern standards. The syrup, ground by a mule-drawn mill and boiled in huge open vats to thicken the sweet juice, sold to Atlanta wholesale distributors for only 35 cents per gallon. Mr. Lovinggood also sold the syrup in his store.

But perhaps Mr. Lovinggood’s most vivid memories are of the cotton gins, both the Farmer’s Co-op and McTyre’s, which were in major enterprises in the community, rivaled only by the railroad section crews in economic importance. When the cotton crop was ready for ginning, Mr. Lovinggood would open his store at 1:00 A.M. in order to serve the farmers who would line up their wagons, loaded with as much as 40 bales of cotton, along the main street of Powder Springs. He remembers the day that an electrical short at one gin affected the power source at the other gin and resulted in a brace of mules owned by a Mr. Wade to be electrocuted as they waited to deposit their load of cotton.

As a store owner in Powder Springs for almost 50 years, Mr. Lovinggood recalls much of the commercial activity of the town. He remembers the sound of anvils ringing in the early morning air from the three blacksmith shops that thrived before the automobile became common. As a young merchant on a trip to Atlanta, he describes the deserted streets surrounding the Henry Grady monument that still stands on Marietta Street near Five Points; there were no cars in sight and he observed a grand total of eleven motor vehicles on the streets of Atlanta that day. The hard times of the 20’s and 30’s meant people could not pay for their basic needs. Mr. Lovinggood remembers one family who did pay him $10.35 for a crate of eggs and a bushel of potatoes — he got the check 35 years after the merchandise was sold. He sold 25 lbs. of flour for 75 cents back then and bought 100 cases of a new but very popular product from a broker in Atlanta at 85 cents per case. Coke has gotten more popular, and more expensive since then.

Mr. Lovinggood remembers, perhaps not a better time, but certainly a time from which modern society can learn much. He has preserved the memories of that time in carefully maintained records: photographs, the ledger books from his store, even the letters written to him by his second wife prior to their marriage. He intends to take those letters with him to his grave. Thankfully, he has taken the time to share his memories and insights with us.

Thank you Mr. Lovinggood for the loving memories.

– Article from the Powder Springs Enterprise, Vol. 1, 1983

Preserving Local History

This article was written by the Seven Springs Historical Society founder, Miss Sarah Frances Miller and originally featured in the Powder Springs Enterprise, 1983.

A backward look at the history of Powder Springs is full of pleasant memories. We are now experiencing a period of change from a farm community, self-sufficient and isolated, to a bedroom community, inexplicably tied to our metropolitan neighbor in the east. We have worked with plows; now we work with planes.

Even in a period of transition, however, it is possible, perhaps even essential, to protect and preserve our past while living in a modern world.

Here in Powder Springs, we have saved the evidence of our past: farm and blacksmith tools, spinning wheels, show lasts and quilts are only a few of the objects to historical interest to young and old alike.

Yes, the history has been preserved. The next step is to make it available. In commemoration of the Cobb County Sesquitenniel, let’s get together to give ourselves a community anniversary gift–a town museum. I say to the officials of Powder Springs, give us the building, the history is already here.