House of worship has historical significance

By Anna Carrera

Published 10/16 2013 04:15PM

Updated 10/17 2013 01:17PM

COLES COUNTY -- Parts of an area church are crumbling, but people are trying to restore the piece of history. It's now known as the Shiloh Church, built just south of Charleston. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera shows us how volunteers are pitching in to bring it back to life.

Almost 140 years after builders finished the Shiloh Church, it's still standing. But to withstand the test of time, it needs a little help.

"Your bricks can be replaced," said Corey Mason, who is the vice president of Kross Masonry. "Your mortar can be replaced."

But history can't. So a group of people is trying to preserve it by fixing it up.

"It was just in such disrepair," said Kevin Tracy, who is the president of Kross Masonry. "It was time for us to step up and try to help where we could since we've got the knowledge of how to do it."

They're masons by trade and volunteers by choice. The history surrounding the building involves our 16th president.

"Lincoln's parents are buried here," said Tracy. 

Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln died before the church was built and the last congregation left the pews more than 50 years ago. But volunteers say all those details are important parts of the building's past.

"People have to know where they come from and what was there before," said Mason. 

So they're grinding and drilling to make sure the church will survive in the future.

"Everything in today's society is kind of a throw-away society," said Tracy. "If we took care of our buildings, we'd have buildings that last 600 years."

Or they could last longer than that, with a stronger foundation and brickwork to build on. Local businesses donated mortar and sand. Those volunteers plan to finish this phase of renovations within the next week or so.

To help the project continue, click here

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