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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hiwassee Union Baptist Church (River view)

Hiwassee Union Baptist Church

This church building which dates back to 1899 is located along the bank of the Hiwassee River in Reliance, TN. Every other photo I have seen of this building is from the street side, however my photo was taken while I was riding along the Hiwsasee River Excursion Train. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Reliance Historic District.

Here is the text of the historic marker provided by the Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association from their Religious Heritage Trail:
Erected about 1899 through the joint effort of the Hiwassee Union Missionary Baptist Church and the local Masonic Lodge, this two-story, frame structure served as a multi-use community building. The upper floor was for lodge meetings while the first floor served as the church meeting hall. The first floor was also used as a schoolhouse for a brief time.
Originally the first floor had a full front porch. The porch was enclosed in 1927 when the church added two small meeting rooms, leaving a narrow entry way into the main hall. The church and the lodge moved to new facilities less than one mile to the east on Highway 30. It was founded on October 8, 1848 as Hiwassee Union Baptist, and then in 1859 as Sweetwater Baptist Association. In 1861 the Ocoee Baptist Association was formed, so they asked to be released from Sweetwater's Association and joined the Ocoee Baptist Association. Hiwassee Union Baptist went on the join Eastanallee Baptist Assocation in 1871 and finally it joined the Polk Baptist Association in 1921.

(One more note about the excursion train: I could have sworn I heard the guide say this place was a filming location for the movie Deliverance, but I can't find any confirmation of that anywhere else. Has anyone else heard that?)

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