On route 52, we stumbled across this abandoned church: Mt Zion AME Church in the coal camp of Eckman.

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Looking at the church, we noticed the terrible condition of it’s structure. The roof on the left side is almost gone.

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There was a piece of gold Christmas garland lying on the floor. The kind used in Christmas plays when dressing the kids as angels. Was their last service a Christmas play?

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On the right, there were a few pews still there. To the left, there was an old cabinet that held hymnals and papers were strewn about.

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In the back room, a piano sat as if waiting for someone to retrieve it out of the desolation. It had been waiting for quite some time.

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Why was this church abandoned? Although population loss could be a factor, there are 22,000 people who reside in McDowell County, enough to fill the remaining open AND closed churches.

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Before leaving, we found a Bible. It had been soaked through. Ruined. There was now ice on the cover.

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I checked the inside for a name, in hopes to return it to its owner. There was none. It didn’t seem right to leave it there, but it didn’t seem right to take it, either…

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