Claybank Church
The historic log church is a
significant landmark in Ozark
and is one of the oldest
buildings in South Alabama.
Historic Claybank Church - Ozark, Alabama -Claybank Methodist Church in Ozark, Alabama
Claybank Church
Built in 1852, the beautiful little Claybank Church
stands as a reminder of the importance of
Christianity in early Alabama.
A Relic of the Antebellum Era
Barely removed from the traffic and sounds of
U.S. Highway 231 in Ozark, Alabama, the
historic structure of Claybank Church stands
as a beautifully preserved memorial to the
early settlers of Dale County, Alabama.

Built in 1852, the hand-hewn log church was
actually the second to stand on its site. The
original, built in 1829-1830, was a crude
building of round logs. It deteriorated over the
years and was finally replaced by the church
that can still be seen today.

An important fixture in the early days of the
Ozark area, the church takes its name from
the unique geology of the Claybanks region
of Dale County. An area bearing an almost
mountainous appearance in the midst of the
pine woods and wiregrass flat lands of South
Alabama, the Claybanks attracted the
attention of early settlers much as the hill
country still draws admiring remarks from
visitors today.

The original church was nondenominational
but eventually became affiliated with the
Methodist denomination. It served local
Methodists for many years but was eventually
replaced by newer and more modern
structures. During its history, the little church
also functioned as a one-room school,
polling location and community meeting hall.

Structurally, the church is a remarkable piece
of construction. The exterior walls are made
from massive hand-hewn timbers which still
bear the marks of axes and shaping tools.
Inside, the wooden flooring is made from
beautiful planks of remarkable length and
size. The windows have no glass, but are
closed by wooden shutters.

Unlike many similar structures that once
dotted South Alabama, the Claybank Church
survived time, abandonment and progress.
In 1980 it was lovingly restored to its original
condition by descendants of William A. and
Ophelia Dowling Byrd.

Claybanks Church is unique in that it is one
of the few surviving antebellum structures in
the Wiregrass Region of Alabama. It also
survived the brutal days of the Civil War in
Dale County, a time marked by the raids of
brutal deserter gangs and their numerous
small skirmishes with Confederate
conscription troops and local militiamen.

One of these encounters took place within a
couple of miles of Claybank Church.
Along with its pine shaded grounds and
beautifully maintained historic cemetery, the
church is preserved today as an important
historic site and memorial. It is open daily
during daylight hours and there is no charge
to visit.

The interior of the church has been restored
to how it appeared during its days of fiery
sermons and dinner on the grounds.

To reach Claybank Church, begin at the
intersection of U.S. 231 and Andrews Avenue
(Highway 289) in Ozark, Alabama). Turn
south onto Andrews Avenue and drive about
one block, looking for the historic marker and
entrance road on your right. The church and
cemetery are just up this road on the hill.

One note, most online map programs place
the church in the wrong location, but follow
the directions above and you should find it
with no trouble.

Please help preserve this historic church and
its grounds by treating them with respect.
Interior of Claybank Church
The restored interior of the
church looks much as it did
more than a century ago.
Claybank Church
The historic cemetery by the
church contains the graves of
many early area pioneers,
including both Confederate
and Union soldiers. - Claybank Methodist Church in Ozark, Alabama
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Page Created: 2011
Last Update: July 28, 2012
Historic Sites in Alabama