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Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel receives grant

Tom Turley (left) and Becky Hebert from the Alabama Department of Archives visited Chestnut Creek Baptist Church on Tuesday to meet with members of Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel including Pam Persons, Ola Taylor and Denise Scarbrough. The group is pictured looking at church financial records.

Tom Turley (left) and Becky Hebert from the Alabama Department of Archives visited Chestnut Creek Baptist Church on Tuesday to meet with members of Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel including Pam Persons, Ola Taylor and Denise Scarbrough. The group is pictured looking at church financial records. (Photo by Emily Reed)

The non-profit organization Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel in Verbena recently received a grant from the Alabama Historical Records Advisory Board to help preserve historical records.

“We are thrilled to be able to have this grant,” President of Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel Denise Scarbrough said.

Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel became a non-profit organization in 2014 for the purpose of preserving Chestnut Creek Baptist Church, located in the Cooper Community near Verbena.

More than $35,000 will be awarded in January to local governments or other local historical entities throughout Alabama.

Nineteen applications out of 24 received full or partial funding, and funds were provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission State Board Programming Grant.

Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel received $1,008 to purchase an air conditioner, data logger, and archival boxes and folders to preserve historical records of Chestnut Creek Baptist Church.

Currently, a room in the historical church building is being renovated for a place to store the archives.

Tom Turley and Becky Hebert from the Alabama Department of Archives visited Verbena Tuesday morning to meet with members of the Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel.

“This year, we have had a special emphasis on developing local archives,” Turley said. “This grant is to help preserve the historical archives for the community to be able to use.”

The church was originally built in 1818, and the group is working to restore the church for the community to be able to use for various programs, singings, reunions and a site for historical information.

The church building has been used this year for different events including a Christmas Bazaar, and a singing for Scottish singer-songwriter Jim Malcolm.

“We have had a wonderful response from the community for community events,” Scarbrough said. “Our goal is to open the building to the community, to make sure the historical records are stored and preserved and to eventually offer free music and art lessons.”

Other members of Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel include Treasurer Pam Persons, Secretary Ola Taylor and Vice President Lynn Cerny.

The group is hoping as more work on the building continues that members from the community will provide more historical records to store in the archives room.

“We have found so many people who have family members who attended this church or know someone who did,” Taylor said. “We are hoping that if people have records they would like to donate, they would let us know. We have found old financial records that were stored in the church, and in some of the financial records there were minutes that were kept. We would love to have more of those books.”

Turley said if more people know that the group is building an archives area, they will come forward and provide information regarding the church.

Turley explained on Tuesday that the money had been slightly delayed from being distributed to the various organizations covered under the grant.

Due to the delay, Turley said the group should receive the money in January 2016 and would have an extended deadline to complete the projects.

The original deadline was May 2016 for the projects covered under the grant to be completed.

“The good news is we have heard there will be more grants awarded in the future,” Turley said.

The group invites anyone with information, such as photographs or archives, to visit www.chestnutcreekheritagechapel.com or call (205) 389-5364.

Information can also be mailed to P.O. Box 235, Verbena, AL 36091.