“Everything comes to you at the right time. Be patient.” ~ Unknown
It has been a really long day, but is has been a great day. Not only was it absolutely gorgeous – and perfect for The Derby – but it was extremely informative and fun. I went on a field trip to Camp Nelson National Monument with HP chair Dr. Dan Vivian and several of my classmates. Dan was able to get us a private tour with ranger Steve Phan, who was not just a great guide, but an incredibly helpful historic preservation advocate. He was very generous with his knowledge and time.
So, what’s up with the church, you ask? This is the Fee Church at Hall. I’ve been wanting to see the Fee Church since I found out about it back in February when the Blue Grass Trust filmed February’s deTour at Camp Nelson. Hall was part of Camp Nelson. It grew from the enslaved refugee camp that, today, is a stone’s throw from the National Cemetery across U.S. 27. It was known as Ariel for a time before settling on Hall (named after Camp Nelson’s quartermaster Capt. Theron E. Hall) . The church was organized by John G. Fee who also organized Berea College, and it was here that the emancipated African Americans who remained and made Hall their home after the Civil War worshipped.
There is something particularly significant about this church to me beyond the obvious. I loved it the first time I saw it, and I love it even more after today. It’s in terrible shape, badly in need of some TLC, and if given the opportunity to help it, I will. Fortunately, Dr. Vivian was totally into my quest to find the Fee Church, so he went with me after our formal field trip ended. He’s really just the best guy with a lot of great ideas. I always learn a lot from him. I’m hopeful he found some inspiration at Hall. Really, this was just one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time. I needed it and I couldn’t be more grateful.