Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Tabernacle

The Mathews Methodist Tabernacle pictured above is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

This is a (bad) shot of the tabernacle. For the uninitiated, a tabernacle was basically an outdoor church "back in the day," where "day" in this instance is defined as circa 1900. Not my day, but Somebody's day, if Somebody is 100 years old.

This tabernacle is located below the courthouse in Mathews.
(Translation: "below" - means "further past." "Courthouse" means the village of Mathews, or the commercial part as opposed to the rest of it, which is.....RURAL. EXCESSIVELY RURAL. You may now return to The Normal English Language, already presumably in progress.)

According to a local publication, the Methodist Tabernacle was long used as a revival center. The original one was built around 1879, but the one pictured here had to be rebuilt in 1922, probably due to fire.

I asked my mother what she knew about the tabernacle. Her eyes got big as saucers as she proclaimed, "Oh my word. That was THE place on any given Sunday around here. People in hoop skirts would show up with picnic baskets and make a day of it." ("It" being church.) She said the indoor churches in the summer time would simply be too hot, so everyone congregated here, in the middle of the woods in Mathews. To hear preaching outside right next to the KILLER MOSQUITOES that no doubt were multiplying by the millions since most of Mathews at any given time is UNDER WATER and has many pools of stagnant water. (Of course, if you're wearing long dresses and hoop skirts, a mosquito in the heat of summer is the least of your worries.)

I could do some research on the tabernacle, but I'm fairly lazy. In the ideal world, my Mathews commenters would check with their relatives who were alive around 1900, or 1879, or 1492. It's all the same.

Truth be told, there are still many people living who would have great stories to tell of this tabernacle. For now, I'll leave those stories alone and let the picture speak for itself.

And what it's saying is, "If only these Outdoor Church pews could talk."


foolery said...

Oh. My. Darnit. That place is beautiful. I think I'd sneak in there every single day at lunch time if no one cared. It just makes me want to sit in there. Unless there are poisonous snakes hanging out, and big hairy spiders, which there would be in rural interior California.

We can't count on (regular) outdoor ANYTHING here, which is counterintuitive information about California. In the spring it's too windy, six months out of the year it's TOO HOT (it'll be 95 today, well over 100 all weekend), and in the winter it's too cold, even here.

Roz said...

There is something so very much like that here in Mpls--we also have unbelievable amounts of mosquitoes to deal with each summer--and it has the old-fashioned name of The Plaisance.

Hope you get more answers from the Mathews crowd!

tj said...

"...Of course, if you're wearing long dresses and hoop skirts, a mosquito in the heat of summer is the least of your worries." lol... unless of course one of those KILLER mosquitoes got under your hoop skirt - then hoo-doggies, look out! lol... ;o)

...And are you all sufferin' from an infestation of ticks this year? Goodness sakes, we are here! Just think back to that movie, "The Birds" and replace 'em with ticks, of course without wings, and not in black and white, and no beaks but teeth and...well you get the picture... ;o)

...That is a pretty place CBW...and you're right - if only that place could talk, the stories it could tell!

...Thanks for sharing, and thank you for the wonderful & sweet comment you left at my place on Mother's Day - you're the BEST! :o) I hope your mother's day was a special one!

...Blessings... :o)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Foolery, I never would have guessed that about where you live, but if it makes you feel any better we usually have two seasons: winter and HOTTER THAN JULY. This spring has been unseasonably cool, hence the ability to take pictures without a beekeeper's suit (to protect against mosquitoes).

Roz - The Plaisance sounds so much more regal than anything around here. What a great name. I'd love to know more about it.

tj - in hindsight I realize that I added the hoopskirt thing into the mix....my mother was merely talking about the long dresses they wore around the turn of the century and I went ahead and leapt to the conclusion that hoop skirts must have been involved. However, I agree that a mosquito - or anything- underneath would be quite the conundrum!

Ticks are always a problem here. Always. However, I have not personally noticed any, mostly because I have a No Tick Attitude when I go outside.

I just DARE them to latch on...

Thank you all for commenting.