Tag Archives: Oak Ridge Turnpike

The Lost Churches of Oak Ridge

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

One of the major loses that took place in the creation of Oak Ridge were the closing of churches in that area. There were several active churches when those properties were acquired by the federal government. Three active churches were located in the Wheat Community. Those were the George Jones Baptist Church, the Crawford Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the Wheat Methodist Church. The George Jones Baptist Church (the original name was Mount Zion Baptist Church) was started about 1852. The current structure, which is still standing, was built in 1901. The Crawford Cumberland Presbyterian Church was established in 1891, and the building that was there had been constructed in 1901. The Wheat Methodist Church was started about 1873. There were three other known churches, located in different parts, which were the New Bethel Baptist Church, the Friendship Baptist Church, and the East Fork Baptist Church. The New Bethel Baptist church, which is still standing, was started in 1852. The Friendship Baptist Church, which was located near the New Bethel Baptist Church, was started by people who were removed by the creating of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Both churches were located in the X-10 (ORNL) reservation. The East Fork Baptist Church, was established about 1801, was located near the Roane and Anderson County line and a little distance from the location of the original guard houses on Highway 58 (Oak Ridge Turnpike). The church building that was standing in 1942 had been built in 1901. A cemetery is still located there. The George Jones Church and the New Bethel Church structures were kept because they were used for storage during the building of Oak Ridge. All of the other churches were torn down.

George Jones Baptist Church AKA Mount Zion Baptist Church

Crawford Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, November 2017.