Historic Rural Churches of Georgia by Sonny Seals is a profound exploration of Georgia’s cultural and architectural heritage through its rural churches. The book delves into the history of the state, which can be uniquely understood through these sacred structures that emerged as the backcountry expanded in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These churches, often constructed with local materials and by the hands of the very communities they served, became pivotal centers of spiritual and communal life.
The authors, Sonny Seals and George S. Hart, co-founders of the nonprofit organization Historic Rural Churches of Georgia, have meticulously documented forty-seven early houses of worship from various regions of Georgia. Accompanied by nearly three hundred stunning color photographs, the book captures the simple elegance and serene beauty of these sanctuaries, their grounds, and cemeteries. The images, taken by a dedicated group of volunteer photographers, bring to life the diversity and historical significance of these rural churches.
The narrative not only showcases the architectural details and artistic craftsmanship found in these buildings but also emphasizes the urgent need for their preservation. Many of these historic churches are now in states of neglect and require restoration to ensure their survival as landmarks of rural sacred architecture and as testimonies to the communities and traditions they represent.
What I Liked
I have a deep fascination with all things rural Georgia. This book is one of the most beautiful coffee-table style reference books about rural Georgia that I’ve ever seen. I like how they use churches as a microcosm to explore settlement patterns, cultural changes, and how Georgia has changed over the course of the last 250 years.
What I Did Not Like
I mean – it’s a pretty niche topic, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it to just anyone. But, if you love beautiful photographs of rural America, then this is an “off the beaten path” book for you.