Beech Church should be saved endangered registry

CARTHAGE — Indiana Landmarks recently has placed the Beech Church near Carthage on its 10 Most Endangered List.

Indiana Landmarks is a nonprofit organization that helps save and revitalize historic buildings.

Beech Church, which the organization’s website states is the spiritual center of an early black settlement near Carthage, is a significant historical structure and should be saved, says J.P. Hall from the Eastern Office of Indiana Landmarks.

“We are working with the decedents of the Mt. Pleasant Community, who maintain and care for the site,” Hall said in a letter. “We have funded, in conjunction with philanthropist Stan Cox — through the Central Indiana Community Foundation — to do a feasibility study and to assist with getting the property listed in the National Register.”

Indiana Landmarks also will assist the community in fundraising and planning for the upkeep of the Beech Church, Hall said. Decedents meet every August to hold a service at the site.

“The Church is the remaining structure associated with the Mt. Pleasant community, an African-American community that was established near Carthage,” Hall said. “Many of the African Americans followed the Quakers north from North Carolina as Carthage and surrounding areas had a strong Quaker presence.”

The church was established between 1828 and 1832, while the current building was built in 1865, according to the Indiana Landmarks website.

Church members soon after the founding started a lending library at the structure. You could pledge 12½ to 25 cents to buy books. This was during the period when less than a quarter of the adult population was literate. Many descendants of Beech Church members became prominent in education, medicine, politics and the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. So the congregation had its impact.

Holly Trees Miller also tells me that there is one building left in old Nashville in Brown Township. A log cabin was discovered encased in another structure. It is east of the creek on County Road 1000N. Thanks, Holly. Do any of you know of other old log cabins in the county?

If you would like to assist in efforts to preserve the Beech Church, contact Indiana Landmarks at 1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202; call 800-450-4534 or 317-639-4534; or email info@indian landmarks.org.

Enough; I have told you everything I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.