(ODD)yssey

Pine Torch in Bankhead Forest one of 4 surviving log churches in Alabama

Pine Torch Church is one of the oldest churches in Alabama and one of only four surviving log churches. Click here to read about all of Alabama’s log churches.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW 

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Pine Torch Church in the Bankhead National Forest in Lawrence County. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

The church is located in the Bankhead Forest in Lawrence County at the intersection of Country Roads 70 and 73. See a map below the story.

Several online sources say it was built in the 1890s but a sign at the site claims in was built in the 1840s. According to legend, Pine Torch got its name from the pine knots that were set ablaze to light the building after dark.

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Pine Torch Church in the Bankhead National Forest in Lawrence County. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

It is made of hand-hewn logs. The original floor, made of hand-hewn poplar planks, was stolen piece-by-piece and was replaced in 1940, according to a historic marker at the site. The original roof was made of hand-split wooden shingles. It was later replaced with tin.

Behind the church is a cemetery whose grounds are covered with sand to make maintenance easier. It had some interesting old headstones. We also saw what appeared to be bobcat prints in the sand so lookout for wildlife if you go there.

A newer and larger wooden church was built at the back of the property. It is still in use.

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Interior of Pine Torch Church in the Bankhead National Forest in Lawrence County. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Interior of Pine Torch Church in the Bankhead National Forest in Lawrence County. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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A historic marker at the site. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Sign in the cemetery at Pine Torch Church. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

A newer church at the site

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A newer church was built at the site of Pine Torch Church in the Bankhead National Forest. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Interior of the newer church. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Interior of the newer church. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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The cemetery at Pine Torch Church is covered in sand for easier maintenance. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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A print in the sand at the cemetery, likely made by a bobcat. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

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