SAMANTHA, Ala. (WIAT) — A historic church in Tuscaloosa County has burned to the ground, and many residents have been saddened by losing the community staple.
The Philadelphia Baptist church stood 100 years along North Hagler Road in the small Northport community of Samantha. Now there’s nothing left but ashes and burned pieces of wood.
“Well it is very sad, now it is like a dark hole over there to me,” said Marie Miller, a Samantha resident that lived across from the church for over 40 years. “It is something really missing.”
Thursday morning, Miller’s daughter and granddaughter were reflecting back on memories of the old church and what it meant to their community.
“My husband and I went over there a time or two and they would have gospel singing groups over there we would go,” Miller said. “And it was a nice country place to go, very enjoyable.
The Samantha Volunteer Fire Department says the fire started Monday as a wildfire in the woods that rekindled on Tuesday before burning the church down. 86 acres surrounding the church were burned.
Dorothy Ledbetter feels the loss especially strongly, as she and her husband were married at Philadelphia Baptist in 1969.
“It was special but plain and small but special because I had grandparents who got married there,” Ledbetter said. “So a lot of history there it is very sad. It was a big loss because it’s gone forever.”
The State Fire Marshals Office is investigating the incident.
Philadelphia Baptist Church