Now in a dilapidated state, the historic Shiloh Baptist Church building on the corner of Washington and Martin Luther King Drive is a tangible remnant of Alexandria’s heyday.
“It’s a wonderful brick and mortar survivor from our past,” said Father Chad Partain. “It’s a monument to the faith of our African-American community.”
Partain, a board member for the Louisiana History Museum and Pat Boone, board secretary, treasurer and volunteer, said the museum is interested in purchasing the property because it’s a major historic building in the downtown area.
The museum started a campaign to raise $125,000 to purchase and secure the property. Boone created a GoFundMe page, Louisiana History Museum Funding. Brochures seeking donations were also mailed out.
“It’s the premier brick and mortar African-American church built in Alexandria’s heyday,” said Partain. “It’s a major accomplishment of the African-American community to have built that building when they did.”
For that reason, the museum wants to rescue and restore the building. To lose this property, said Partain, would be to lose “a real piece of our history.”
That’s where is it’s been since 1996. Purchasing the Shiloh property would also help the museum enlarge and expand their collection because it would have doubled the space it has now.
“We have so many things that we can’t put on display now because the space is simply too limited,” said Partain.
If the board is able to purchase the Shiloh property, plans are to move the Louisiana History Museum there where it could display its collection of local and Louisiana artifacts.