The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 5 – Oriole MD


This is our sixth vacation spent in Chincoteague, VA since 2015. Our main activities during vacation include photographing wild ponies and water birds at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, photographing wild ponies at Assateague Island, MD, and visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore in both Virginia and Maryland. We have ridden our bicycles at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and walked trails in both the refuge and at Assateague Island, MD. Today we decided to spread our wings a bit and visit another nearby locale. This morning we drove to Oriole, MD in search of a historic landmark that I had read about on the Internet.

Located at the intersection of the Champ and Oriole roads is the St. James Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the Registration Form for National Register of Historic Places, the church “is one of eighteen historic African- American churches recorded on the Somerset County inventory, and it is architecturally important as one of the most original with relatively intact exterior and interior finishes. Unlike most of the other churches in this group, St. James has not been used since the mid 1960s, thereby freeing it from many of the modern alterations that have been made to other churches for comfort or low maintenance concerns. The building has not been altered to any significant degree since the turn of the twentieth century and it is a rare, relatively intact survivor of late nineteenth century religious architecture as embraced by rural black congregations in Somerset County.

The St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1885. According to the African American Registry, “the church community was comprised of free Blacks, freed slaves and watermen … Over time, the congregation gradually disbanded and became too small to maintain the facility and, soon, the building was abandoned and eventually fell into poor condition.

This video was published on YouTube in May 2011, before St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was restored. There are many exterior and interior photographs contained within the video, along with personal recollections of the church.

The church is being restored through the efforts of the Oriole Historical Society.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church, as it stands today.

Located across Champ Road is a nineteenth-century graveyard, with above grave markers.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery

Because of the high water table, graves cannot be dug to the standard depth.

2 Responses to “Easter Vacation 2021 Day 5 – Oriole MD”

  1. seniorhiker

    I’m glad to see that this church is being restored — it reminds me of the churches in Cades Cove. There are similar graveyards in churches in Little River, South Carolina, where I lived for a few years.

    Reply
  2. DeniseinVA

    Thanks for the video and interesting photos, along with the interesting history. It’s a place I would like to see one day.

    Reply

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