Calvary United Methodist

Jasper County
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Org 1857|
Photography by Scott Farrar

In 1859 Jasper County resident Mathew Whitfield conveyed a two acre tract of land on the Monticello-Madison road to a group of Shady Dale settlers for the sum of $20 to be used for building a church and cemetery. The church built there was Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church and still stands today over 150 years later. The church had been founded in 1857 and was originally located on the Madison road about two miles north of Shady Dale. There is still an old cemetery there with the graves of early Jasper County pioneers and church founders. Shady Dale is one of those lovely East Georgia villages and well worth a visit. It lies nine miles northeast of Monticello in Jasper County. Shady Dale was originally a Creek Indian village long before the English first arrived. Later it became a local trading post and is the only other incorporated city in Jasper County. In the early 1899s the Seven Islands Road passed only a few miles to the north and west of Shady Dale. This was a very important land route from Augusta to New Orleans and brought in many traders and travelers to the town. Later a railroad from Augusta to Milledgeville to Covington and on to Atlanta passed through Shady Dale. Being in the middle of this rail line made it a very popular tourist and trading site. About the time of the War Between the States, Shady Dale was on the road from Covington to the state capitol in Milledgeville. This provided a lot of traffic from the now growing Atlanta, formerly Marthasville, to Milledgeville. Two of the wealthiest men in the state lived in Shady Dale at that time, Mathew Whitfield and J. W. Walton. Whitfield owned the Shady Dale Hotel at that time. General Sherman spent the night in the Shady Dale Hotel during his infamous March to the Sea but, fortunately, the village emerged relatively unscathed. In 1887, the Macon-Covington railroad venture passed through Machen and Shady Dale on its way to Athens. It had originally been planned to go to Covington but at Mineta Crossing plans changed and it proceeded through Monticello and Shady Dale, crossing the other railroad already in Shady Dale. This helped the local trade tremendously. Shady Dale later developed into a major shipping point for cotton, peaches and farm machinery but the bubble burst in the 1930’s with the coming of The Great Depression. Many beautiful old homes are left in this proud community. Come visit Shady Dale and attend a service at Calvary. Sunday services are at 9:30 and 11:00 am. Visitors are always welcome.

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