Historic Whitesville Methodist Church to get new life as event venue

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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A local historical landmark, Whitesville Methodist Church, is getting new life as a meeting and small event venue. Spearheading the project is Whitley Harris.

“It’s really an amazing place. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it,” Harris said. “We have really poured our heart and soul into this place for the last nine months.”

As a part of the renovation for what’s known now as Olde Whitesville, the floors have been refinished with heart pine flooring, the roof now is adorned with new paint and roofing, a new handicap-accessible bathroom has been installed, and a mural has been completed.

“To make it accessible to all, we had a ramp built and added a new bathroom,” Harris said. “The only bathroom in the building was in the basement. So, we had to convert a room upstairs into an ADA-compliant bathroom. We’ve done a lot of nice, pretty updates.”

Originally founded in 1854, the church has seen many historical events, including those going into the Civil War. The church was central to the surrounding community and played a big part in stability as well as comfort to early settlers. As the town grew and welcomed modern-day inventions, the church received its signature twin towers and fish-scale shingles. According to an article by Historical Rural Churches, in the 1930s it welcomed electricity. By the 1940s, the original wood-burning stoves were replaced and soon after, a kitchen and fellowship area were added.

Now as Olde Whitesville, Harris wants to make it a place where people can opt-in for smaller intimate events.

“You know, there’s a lot of venues in our area, that are kind of like larger scale for big weddings or conferences,” Harris said. “We really wanted to focus on small events like bridal luncheons, baby showers, anniversary celebrations, or graduation celebrations, just small intimate family events are really what our goal is, and we think here is a perfect space.”

The rich history of the church can still be felt in the little touches in and around the property.

“Everybody’s been really supportive of us and thankful that I have taken on this project to save it and preserve it,” Harris said.