As you drive along GA-22 between Crawfordville and Powelton, it is hard to miss Antioch Baptist. The building that you see was constructed in 1899 according to historical surveys performed by UGA. The church is both beautiful and somewhat intimidating; it doesn’t seem to necessarily fit in a totally rural area, and is significantly different from other local Baptist churches from similar time periods. Two large towers flank the main gabled structure, which gives it an almost intimidating presence. The towers are an element of the Gothic Revival style, which was in vogue from the 1820’s through the beginning of the 20th century. This style of architecture was based on the colossal structures built mostly in France during the middle ages.
The sons and daughters of ex-slaves in south Taliaferro County and North Hancock County had a vision of expanding their freedom and to shape their own lives as they saw fit. So a group of courageous pioneers from the Powelton New Hope Baptist Church, led by Deacon Willie Peak, Deacon Abe Frazier and Deacon Philic Jones came together and founded the Antioch Baptist Church in Taliaferro County, outside of Crawfordville, on November of 1886. The deacon board purchased two acres of land from the Veazey estate and two acres were deeded to them for a cemetery. The oldest documented grave in the cemetery is 1898, which indicates the church building presently on site is probably the original church building.
The building has suffered from neglect and lack of maintenance for a long time, resulting in some serious structural issues and a proud sanctuary like this, built by freed and first generation freed slaves deserves a better fate. The church was built by local master craftsmen who somehow acquired a strong sense of architectural design. A lot of love went into Antioch. Let’s hope someone comes to the rescue.