Sanctuary of Elmburg Church, Shelby County.  August 1994.  38° 19.35'N  85° 04.33'W. View is N.
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     This is the interior of the Elmburg Methodist/Christian Church in Shelby County, about 30 miles east-northeast of Louisville.  I say "Methodist/Christian" because according to one long-time resident I spoke with, that's just what it was.  The Methodists would use the church building one Sunday, the Christians (I don't know if they were Disciples of Christ, or what) would use the building the next Sunday.  They would trade off that way, every other Sunday.
     I can't verify that particular story; but my father, a retired Methodist minister, said it was not an uncommon practice years ago for rural congregations of different denominations to share a church building--especially when the individual congregations were small.
     Today, the village of Elmburg has no more than 20 inhabitants.  And while there is still a small, thriving Baptist church just up the road, the Methodist/Christian church building hasn't been used for decades.  It sits deserted and dilapidated.  The sun shines through big holes in the roof.  Plaster litters the floor, and graffiti has been spray-painted on the walls.  Untrimmed evergreen shrubbery grows to the size of trees out front, and almost hides the church from the view of traffic that rolls by on KY 43.
     Some day, I suppose, the old building will burn to the ground and that will be that.


     We had a violent thunderstorm with high winds in our area in May 1996. Several barns and a number of trees were blown down.  Passing through Elmburg a few days later, I saw where the roof and one of the side walls of the old church had collapsed.
     I finally got around to going back and checking the place out in December.  I took a few pictures and poked around a little. The structure of the building was wrecked, but the concrete foundation was still in surprisingly good shape.  The old church is situated on a triangular lot of about half-an-acre.  There is no cemetery that I could see.
     Here's what puzzles me about the old church:  I've lived in this end of the county for more than 15 years, and I have never seen anyone else exhibit the least interest in this building or the land it stands on--even though it sits smack beside a fairly busy highway. It might as well be invisible.  People around here that I ask know very little, if anything, about the place.
     All I can figure is that the people who attended the church are all long gone.  And perhaps because the building was shared by two separate congregations, ownership of the property is now, years later, completely clouded. Maybe this place no longer belongs to anybody.

Other photos of this subject:
     1)  Front doors in 1994.
     2)  Front doors in 2002.
     3)  Exterior in 1996.
     4)  Sanctuary in 2002.
Originally posted in 1995; revised in 1996 and 2002.