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Reeves Temple AME Zion Church Hopes to Restore Historic Lingle Chapel

by | Apr 26, 2018

Lingle Hut, circa 1933 (photo courtesy of Reeves Temple AME Zion Church)

It’s not often that a town has the opportunity to restore not only a piece of history, but also a piece of the community. 

 The Lingle Hut, part of Reeves Temple AME Zion church in Davidson, is one of those opportunities.

 “The Hut”, as the congregation refers to it, was built in 1932 as part of Mill Chapel (later renamed Unity Church). From the Great Depression to the 1960’s the church served blue collar workers on Davidson’s west side. In true Davidson fashion it was built by the community- no contractor, no architect. Men cut timber and women stripped bark, and together they built something in the depths of the Great Depression that lasted nearly a century.

 It was known as the “Unity Hut” until Reeves Temple bought the site in 1966 with help from the son of former Davidson College President Walter Lingle. The younger Lingle donated funds with one condition: that the Unity Hut be named in honor of his father.

 For the next fifty years the Lingle Hut served as the social hall for Reeves Temple. As the congregation aged and children moved away, membership declined, and the Hut fell into disrepair. It has been unusable since 2014 and is in danger of collapse.

 Built in a “rustic revival” style of architecture, the Lingle Hut is one of only five such structures remaining in Mecklenburg County. Recognizing this, the Mecklenburg Historical Landmarks Commission designated it an “historically significant” site in 2007.

Lela Johnson, a 90-year-old Davidson native a lifelong member of Reeves Temple, is working to make the Davidson community aware of the importance of the hut. She would very much like to see this key part of our past restored for the benefit of future generations.

 The church will be holding a kickoff meeting to gather community support for the Hut’s renovation on Sunday, April 29 from 4-5 p.m. at Reeves Temple AME Zion Church.  For more information, the Pastor of the church is the Reverend Anthony Davis who can be reached at 704 891-3626.

Castella Conner is the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and she can be reached at 704 605-1298

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