Lebanon Chapel AME Church
401 Young Street, Fairhope, Alabama
The Lebanon Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the finest examples of concrete construction in a religious context in Baldwin County. The church, located in the heart of Fairhope's black community, is the highest style chapel in the area.
While the early Fairhopers believed in universal equality, they knew that for their experiment to survive in the deep South, it had to be for whites only. Relations between blacks and the Single-Taxers were cordial, though the former resided largely outside the southern city limits in the communities of Tatumville and Houstonville.
Lebanon Chapel A.M.E. was constructed beginning in 1919 and completed in 1923. Serving as one of the most beautiful examples of concrete block construction in a religious context in all of Baldwin County. The Lebanon Chapel AME church has the unique distinction of remaining a religious sanctuary constructed by its exterior of handmade concrete blocks built under the masonry of the later Parishioner, Warren J. Pearson.
The building is a 3 by 5 bay, one-story, gable roofed and one of only three religious houses of worship in all of Baldwin County built with ornamental concrete blocks on its exterior. The facade is dominated by a central square tower divided in three sections. The lower half is concrete block with a pair of wooden doors with lancet panels. The top half of the tower is stuccoed and divided in two by molding. Louvered lancets are in each face. The bellcast hip roof has a boxed cornice with brackets all around. The facade at either side of the tower has a stuccoed parapet accented by a bell-shaped roof on the corners.
Concrete block details include smooth quoins, lintels and belt courses; water table and dentil work around the cornice. All windows are double hung sash with round tops. The rear gable is stuccoed. Two rear windows are partially blinded by a one-story, shed roof, tile block addition. There are rear entrances on either side.
Double wooden front doors lead into the tower and the building. The church is one room with the original plastered walls and a vaulted, beaded board ceiling with exposed trusswork. The altar, pews and hardwood floor are recent additions. There is a small chamber on each side of the altar for the choir and pastor with access behind the altar for the choir.
The church retains its integrity of location, materials and plan. Exterior alterations are limited to new windowpanes in 1980 and a one-story clay tile shed roof addition to the rear in 1960. The church’s central tower, quoins, denticulations and belt course are its distinguishing features.
Referenced as one of the first churches to conduct regular Sunday School for the area children, Lebanon Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church today serves an active congregation and is one of the most well-preserved sanctuaries in the Fairhope community. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.