Category Archives: Alabama

Oak Grove School and Church, Alabama

Hale County

The Oak Grove Church and School sit at the end of a dirt road in Prairieville, Alabama. The school was built in 1925 for the local Black community. Built as a two-teacher school at the cost of $3000, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

St. Andrews Church, Alabama

Prairieville, Hale County

This Carpenter Gothic church is located in Prairieville, Alabama. The congregation of St. Andrews Episcopal Church was founded in 1834. Enslaved laborers built this incredible church in 1856. These builders were loaned to the church by members who were slaveholders.

The cemetery contains a significant amount of ironwork and fencing. Many posts featured common symbols found in a cemetery. The upside-down torch represents a life that has ended or snuffed out. The arrows represent mortality. If you look closely at the road, you will see three leaves, and that represents the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Nettles Death Masks-Carlton, Alabama

Clarke County

Outside of Carlton, Alabama, Mt. Nebo Baptist Church’s cemetery contains death masks created by Isaac Nettles. Nettles created these masks by making molds of the subjects’ faces while they were still alive, which is different from the traditional death mask made after someone passes. The three-person marker represents Isaac and Cora’s three daughters and rests atop Cora’s grave. There are two other markers made by Nettles. These are deteriorating quickly. In 2020, Hurricane Sally caused significant damage to the masks. These are incredible pieces of folk art. At one point, there were four death masks. One was made for Isaac’s mother Selena/Celina. It was damaged by Hurricane Frederick in 1979. The markers were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.