Work underway to revitalize historic Navassa church

Work underway to revitalize historic Navassa church

NAVASSA, N.C. (WECT) - Reaves Chapel was built in the 1800′s by slaves from the Cedar Hill Plantation. Nearly 200 years later, it’s still standing.

The church closed its doors in 2006 and after a couple of major storms, has begun to lean to one side.

“We’re going to restore it to around 1911, when it relocated and that way that structure is able to tell the story of before it was moved and the enslaved plantation descendants there," said Jesica Blake, Assoc. Director of Coastal Land Trust. "Moving forward how it was a very integral part of the community all the way up to the 90’s.”

If the chapel could talk, Al Beatty believes it would have a lot to say. He remembers walking to the church with his brother as a kid. He started the Cedar Hill/West Bank Heritage Foundation specifically for the preservation of Reaves Chapel and other historically significant areas in and around Navassa.

“We decided that we were going to do something about this," said Beatty. "Restore the church, keep the church for our future generations so they will know something about their former ancestors.”

So far the two groups have done what they can to keep the structure stable. The next phase is fundraising, what they say will be the toughest part.

If you would like to help donate to restore and rebuild Reaves Chapel, you can do so here.

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