Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inside Lizzie Chapel in Inman Park

I noticed the door was open. I knocked, poked my head inside, and they let me have a lo0k.
"Known affectionately and inexplicably to Inman Park residents as Lizzie Chapel, this vacant church on the eastern corner of where Druid Circle meets Euclid Avenue was built in 1930 for the Atlanta Gospel Tabernacle. The parking lot once held the Inman Park Presbyterian Church, where Inman Park founders such as the Kings, Hales, and the Hurts attended" - p 67, Inman Park (Images of America: Georgia) by Christine V. Marr and Sharon Foster Jones

I've been driving by the intersections of Euclid, Edgewood, Delta, and Druid Circle forever. I've been hoping to see inside.

Though it's in the midst of restored "grand dame" Victorian houses, Lizzie Chapel - even gone to seed - still holds its own.

It's welcoming in a way no private house can be.

And if it's raining, we can duck under the portico.

You can see this yellow dame from the parking lot. Makes me want to live in the parking lot

I talked with Carolyn at the Atlanta Preservation Center. She said a congregation met there as late as 2005. She thought it had burned twice, the windows aren't original nor were the insides.

There is a Lizzie Chapel in Macon: The Lizzie Chapel Baptist Church, and it's still going strong. And there was a Lizzie Denton:
"In 1892 a group of believers attending Bloomfield Baptist Church in Macon became interested in starting their own church. They began praying for God to show them where the church should be built. One of these believers, Mrs. Lizzie Denton, had a dream where God showed her that the church should be located at Bartlett and Berry Streets." Reflections Church History
I wonder if the Macon Lizzie Chapel is the mother church of ours in Inman Park.

Time to head inside.

The pews are gone. Original or not the windows are beautiful.

The space is in mid restoration. Why, I don't know. It won't be a church again. Too bad I think.

It's freshly painted waiting for finishing touches.

This is the view from the choir about noon.

Ample balcony, no hiding from the preacher up here.

The windows are minimal but big.

I wouldn't call this minimal, exactly.

The baptismal looks relatively new. Is this a fire repair?
" of it burned, and Inman Park neighbors helped restore it. I can't remember when that was, but it was "modern" times - like the 1980s - my best guess." - Sharon Foster Jones
Sharon sent me this post card from between 1930 and 1945.

There is still a First Alliance Church in Atlanta. It's on Druid Hills Road, I pass it every week. So I called them.

It is the very same church. In fact they still have a member who attended in Inman Park. Maybe we can find out where Lizzie came from.

Their history in Atlanta dates back to 1899. They built their Inman Park church in 1930 as the Atlanta Baptist Tabernacle after the former Tabernacle on Capital Avenue burned.

They moved from Inman Park to their new Druid Hills church in 1964.

They know nothing about the Lizzie Chapel name. That must have come after they left the building.

I couldn't see the cornerstone very well. What I can see is confusing. It's discouraging that someone removed several names. I know the Pharaohs did that sort of thing.

The First Alliance Church folks told me they'd been contacted recently because developers were considering tearing Lizzie down.

But tearing it down will be tough for many reasons.

It's a contributing property "...any building, structure, or object which adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make the historic district, listed locally or federally, significant."

Developers are trying to re-purpose it to residential. It's certainly a challenging project.

I wanted to see inside and got more than I bargained for.

It's raised enough questions for many more blog posts.


  1. Great pictures and story! Thanks for sharing. Frank A.

  2. Excellent post thanks for sharing I've passed by this place on hundred times and always wondered about it now I know

  3. After First Alliance vacated the building, the Gospel Harvester Tabernacle took over and remained until early 1973 when they moved to South DeKalb County, now Flat Shoals Parkway.
    Gospel Harvester occupied a neighboring smaller sanctuary on Euclid from the fall of 1960 until they moved into the larger First Alliance (THIS building, Lizzie Chapel) a few years later.

  4. Terry - I always love the old postcards. In regards to historic preservation - nothing makes me sadder than a church falling into ruin. We were in London a few years back and saw SO many churches which had been poorly renovated into something else - like an apartment complex with a new 1980's glass addition that just did not fit the original structure - plus it was an apartment complex. Such a shame. And then the new steel church structures pop up - WHAT? While the beautiful old buildings collapse. Makes no sense.

    1. I'm afraid many of these are white elephants and challenging to repurpose.

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