I’ve not been able to locate any history of Walker Grove Church, but it is an important landmark of African-American religious architecture and was obviously integral to its community since. A school was located on the same property.
Board walls were paneled and sheet rock and ceiling tiles added at some point in the congregation’s history. There is no air conditioning and since I didn’t locate a chimney I presume there was a flue for a pot-bellied stove somewhere.
A baptismal is located beside the church.
This style was very common among African-American congregations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and I believe the church dates to the early 1900s-1910s.
It was common practice in many African-American communities in early 20th century Georgia for churches to construct schools. This was due to the fact that the state was notoriously negligent in the construction and upkeep of schools for black students. The Rosenwald Foundation and the American Missionary Association were two outside concerns that contributed to the cause of African-American education, but I haven’t been able to link either group to Walker Grove and therefore believe that it was built by the members of Walker Grove Baptist Church. It’s located on the same property. I believe this was built in the 1910s or 1920s.
The railroad came to Newington in 1909, the same year the town received its charter. As there was no church in the town, the Methodists began holding Sunday School, first in a shack, and then after it burned, on the platform of the railroad depot. By 1913, efforts were underway to fund the construction of a church and it was formally dedicated in 1916.
These stores were demolished by 2015.
Joiner Smith shared this great memory of the old water tower and Newington: I grew up at Longwood Plantation about 5 miles from Newington. Graduated from Screven County High School in 1964. My mother taught grammar school in Newington. School has since burned. When I was in high school, Cairo Pickle Company would open a cucumber plant during the summer adjacent to this water tank for local farmers to sell their cucumbers About 8 of us boys worked there. The big deal was who could throw a cucumber over the water tank. I could. Newington used to have a theater, pharmacy/drug store, several service stations, grocery stores, doctor office, cafe, hardware store, ice house, wooden water tower for filling up the train, greyhound bus stop, barber shop and the Big Ape beer store just outside of town – time moves on.