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


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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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


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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