Lost Ripley – Miles Chapel

3 Sep

I first featured Miles Chapel on this site under a header titled “If Walls Could Talk”. It was my way of calling attention to important African American sites in Lauderdale County. It is with great sadness that I now write about Miles Chapel and refer to it as Lost Ripley, which is my way of letting people know about African American institutions in Ripley that are no longer standing. Last April I discussed with one of my professors my idea of adding Miles Chapel to the National Register of Historic Places and he was all for it. The church as well agreed that they would like to have it added. It would have been the fourth site in Lauderdale County to be added. This past August my professor and I were headed to Ripley to start the process of having the church added to the National Register. Unfortunately, due to a mold problem the existing chapel will be demolished. Thankfully, they do have plans to rebuild.

As someone who studies African American spaces I consider the demolition of the building as a great loss, but of course I hate to see any old structure torn down.


Miles Chapel (2013)

                                                        Miles Chapel (2013)


You can revisit Miles Chapel’s first appearance on the website here -> If Walls Could Talk – Miles Chapel

– Tiffany


4 Responses to “Lost Ripley – Miles Chapel”

  1. William Carson September 19, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    This really breaks my heart. Fortunately I was able to visit when it was still in use. Several of my relatives are listed as the original trustees on the deed in 1871. One of those relatives, my 2 x great-grandfather Smith Carson, his wife and children moved to Paducah, Kentucky to establish a Miles Chapel in the city. I would love to get a piece of the building as a keepsake.

  2. Bonnie Peterson October 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    I’m so glad you took a picture of Miles Chapel before it was demolished. When they were tearing down the buildings in “the hole” there was a sign, an arrow pointing to the back of one of the buildings that said colored entrance and I did not have the good sense to find a camera to capture that image. It would have been nice to share picture with the young people who know very little about segregation. Keep up the good work. I love your website.

  3. Shelton Watkins January 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    My family including myself were members of Miles Chapel for over 75 years…

    • Sara Norvell September 23, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

      My great grandfather was Alex Norvell and great grandmother Polly Clay who I believe was Margaret Carson’s sister. My paternal grandmother was Sarah Halfacre,known in later years as Sarah Carter and my paternal grandfather was Tony Norvell (Alex and Polly’s son),

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