Lingle Hut Restoration
Construction has begun in earnest on renovation of the Lingle Hut of Reeves Temple AME Zion Church on Watson Street in Davidson. It’s been more than a year since citizens launched a fundraising campaign to restore the historically significant structure, rather than let it crumble – and more than two years since News of Davidson published the initial announcement regarding the project. Workers from Pacific Builders of Charlotte are shoring up the foundation, replacing some of the log walls and pouring a new concrete floor for the structure, which is one of the county’s few Depression-era Rustic Revival, communally built log buildings.
Castella Conner, the trustee chairperson for the church, said this “Phase One” of construction has been paid for by donations. Conner is now soliciting further gifts toward the total $75,000 project through the continued purchase of custom-engraved bricks that will form a patio at the front entrance of the building. That effort was also featured in News of Davidson. Click for the on-line link to order.
The church was founded in 1890 by mill operator Dr. J. P. Munroe as a nondenominational church known as the Mill Chapel. Davidson College students periodically served as ministers. A growing congregation necessitated construction in 1932 of the adjacent fellowship building, which was named “Unity Church Cabin.” A further building effort in 1939 added two rooms, a kitchen and a narrow bathroom. It was renamed “Lingle Hut” in the 1960s when Reeves Temple purchased the property with assistance from a naming gift donation from the family of former college president Walter Lingle. The current pastor for Reeves Temple is Rev. Anthony Davis.
The Unity Church hut was first and foremost used by the Reeves Temple as a fellowship hall.. But it also hosted Bible classes, church parties, suppers, Boy Scout meetings, Boy’s Club meetings, quilting bees, Bible School, and barbeques.
Church members recognized over recent years that the structure was deteriorating. However, the small congregation was unable to pay for renovations on its own. Theseeds of the renovation effort were sown over lunch three years ago between long-time member Lela Johnson and Cornelius resident Maria Naas. Johnson wondered if Naas’s husband Kurt Naas, then a Commissioner with the town of Cornelius, would be in a position to help. At the time the church was reeling from the deaths of ten members in the prior year.
The couple soon organized a committee composed of church members and Davidson residents. Fish fries, bake sales, letter writing, and brick-buying campaigns soon followed. By the beginning of 2020 the group had raised enough to break ground.
“In the current climate of racial division, the Unity Church hut is truly living up to its former name,” said Kurt Naas. “For east-side Davidson residents looking to engage with the African-American community, the Lingle Hut renovation presents a perfect opportunity right in their own backyard.”
For more information about becoming involved, the church created a Facebook group.
Or get in touch with Castella Connor at 704-605-1298 or her email.
“We’re excited because we can see progress now,” said Conner. ”It’s been a long time coming!”
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.