DEVELOPING A VISION

Consider the past ........

In 1948, thirty-seven years after Old Richland's doors closed as an active church, descendents of early members formed the Richland Restoration League, Inc. and charged this body with restoring and preserving the still sound structure. With meager financial donations, in-kind gifts, and lots of sweat equity, the building was fully restored by the mid 1950s. A regional tradition grew out of these efforts and continues today. The first Sunday of each October sees family and friends of those early pioneer families come together for an annual homecoming. In the tradition of those early days, there's a guest speaker plus an old fashion dinner on the grounds. For more than fifty years, donations from this annual event served as the primary source of funding for maintenance and upkeep.

Evaluate the present ............

As Old Richland Church entered the twenty-first century, evidence of major structural decay was apparent. The roof developed serious leaks that in turn caused damage to attic rafters and the interior plaster. The east wall bulged approximately eighteen inches at the center of the building due to insufficient foundation. Exterior wood siding needed repair and painting.

Realizing the severity of these problems, in 2004 the Richland Restoration League trustees secured 501(c)(3) status with the IRS and began the basic steps of raising funds. Special events designed to raise the visibility of Old Richland were held at Charlane Plantation and Hollywood Farm in Twiggs County.

Historically correct period Christmas services have now become an annual event. These efforts have become valuable to building community interest, memberships, and financial support for the preservation and maintenance of the cemetery and building.

Generous contributions from private donors, Mrs. A. D. Faulk, Sr., the Ora Belle Fitzpatrick Estate, Oconee Electric Membership Foundation, and the E. J. Grassman Trust have helped with more than ninety thousand dollars in restorative work. Much work remains.
Plan for a future ............

Today, the Richland Restoration League, Inc. is faced with a number of challenges that affect its potential impact on the central Georgia community. Much of the structural and exterior restoration has been completed, but interior plaster and hardware repair remain on the drawing board.

While the League has received a grant to install a deepwater well on the property, restroom facilities remains a priority goal to facilitate the use of the property for more community/area events. The beautiful Carrara marble and ironwork in the cemetery have recently been restored, but proper historic mapping and landscaping requires sponsors.

To utilize the church building and grounds as a regional cultural center and for rental events, these challenges must be met.

Over the past several years, interest in renting the property for weddings, concerts, and regional plays has risen, due primarily to the heightened visibility and awareness of the Christmas program, Keeping Christmas at Old Richland.

With the expansive growth of nearby Houston County, along with the traditional and familiar audience in Twiggs, Bleckley, Wilkinson, and Bibb Counties, the League trustees believe a self-sustaining revenue stream can be developed by moving forward with the various capital improvements mentioned.



Bringing a vision into focus ................

As Historic Richland Church approaches the 200th anniversary of its founding, the Richland Restoration League, Inc. is working to secure Old Richland's future by developing and implementing a long term strategic plan. In addition to raising the awareness of one of Georgia's historic jewels, the plan will focus on building membership at all levels and will seek funding for several phases of capital improvements over the next seven years.

Darrell Faulk, Director of Development

“To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.” — Seneca