8/26/2013 - Berea Christian Church
In 1832 the process of starting a new church began when an organization known as the Reforming Congregation of Disciples chose a group of trustees to select a site for a church. A site was chosen between the old Spotsylvania Courthouse and the Block House in 1834.

This church building was destroyed in 1855, causing the congregation to begin the search again for another location. Samuel Alsop, a diligent Spotsylvania man, supervised the construction of the new Berea Christian Church, at the age of eighty-one. This new church building is the one we see today, located in the Historical Spotsylvania Courthouse area. The style of the building is a perfect example of Virginia Gothic Revival architecture. On December 11, 1856, The News, a Fredericksburg newspaper, stated that the building was a “neat and substantial place of worship… highly creditable.”

In 1864, during the battles for Spotsylvania Courthouse, the church was initally used as the headquarters for General Jubal Early. As the fighting raged, it soon was used to house the wounded and as a field hospital. The area around the Courthouse came under shell fire from Federal artillery. A large shell passed through the front doors and became hidden within one of the walls.

On July 3, 1899, tragedy struck again when a spark from a steam engine on a nearby lot sent the church up in flames. The building was not insured, so the congregation came together to repair the building they had come to love. The shell that was lodged into the wall was discovered due to the fire. The shell was donated to the Fredericksburg’s Museum of War Relics, but it’s wherabouts today is unknown. The original walls of the church building were left intact, but a metal brace was put in place to insure their stability, and a new roof was required.
In 1961 Berea Christian Church was given to the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors by the remaining trustees. Shortly after, it housed the original Spotsylvania County Museum that was operated by the Spotsylvania Historical Association. It also served as Spotsylvania County’s Bicentennial Center in 1976. Berea Christian Church is no longer serving as a museum for the county, but there is hopes of having it restored in the near future due to its historical significance to Spotsylvania’s past.

Would you like to help? Contact the museum!