Ebenezer Chapel, a longtime, historic landmark in Marmet, West Virginia, will be getting repairs and restorations soon through a concerted community effort.
Marmet Town Council member Teresa Long and other citizens have obtained an upcoming matching grant from the West Virginia Culture Center to keep the chapel’s historical presence continuing for years to come. Long said the grant will be for approximately $16,000, pending approval.
Long said the chapel was damaged by vandals, as well as needing structural restoration. The grant funds will be applied to making the needed repairs.
Ebenezer Chapel was constructed by slaves owned by Marmet’s first settler, Leonard Morris, in 1836. (Morris named the area that is now Marmet Elizaville, after his wife.)
The church is located across the Kanawha River from the former Camp Piatt (now DuPont) in Belle. It served as a headquarters and hospital for Union soldiers during the Civil War and had a cannon on the premises. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
“Marmet Christian Church held services there for many years before moving to their present location,” Long noted.
“Ebenezer Chapel is very important to our community, and I hope we can have the repairs completed by Marmet’s 100th birthday in March,” she said. “We look forward to opening the church again for the public to enjoy.”
She said her eighth grade West Virginia Studies teacher, Russell Hansford, and other Marmet residents fought to keep Ebenezer Chapel from being torn down during construction of the West Virginia Turnpike/ Interstate 77 in the 1970s and she is proud to continue that legacy. It was through the efforts of Hansford and colleagues, she said, that the church acquired its status on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Mr. Hansford instilled a passion in me for the history of our town, and I remember how hard he fought to preserve Ebenezer Chapel,” Long said. “I was just in elementary school at the time, but it made a lasting impact.
“I am excited to receive this grant. It will help to preserve some of the important history of our town and preserve the legacy of Mr. Hansford and of others who fought to keep it from being torn down and forgotten,” she said.
Those working with the project are continuing to seek public input for ways to use the renewed Ebenezer Chapel as an attraction in the future. One proposal has been to include the site as part of a park facility in Marmet. Suggestions can be made by contacting Teresa Long at firstname.lastname@example.org or by messaging the Town of Marmet’s Facebook page.