Churches are often involved in historic preservation by token of maintaining their facilities. But Green Trails UMC in Chesterfield stepped outside
of its walls on a cold November weekend to work on preserving some community history.
African School No. 4 is the oldest surviving African American one-room schoolhouse in Missouri. The school was initially located on Wild Horse Creek Road, but the building was recently moved to Faust Park’s Historic Village. It was built in 1894 by black farm families.
The Rev. Dr. Linda Settles, the pastor of the United Methodist Church of Green Trails, had many of her congregation there on November 12, working on chinking the logs.
“To bring people from all walks of life out to this park to do something like this, shows the power of what we can do when we unite,” she said.
“Being a Black pastor at a white church in a predominantly white community has helped me to find a connection with the community, and that’s what I’ve been longing for.”
Work on the schoolhouse will continue through the winter, with an anticipated completion sometime in the spring. Historic artifacts will furnish the structure when it is complete.
While the work is far from over, Settles hopes the finished product will be a symbol of unity.
“We are all a part of this soil, so to have our hands in this schoolhouse, rebuilding it, and showing it for generations to come. To me, it just shows that we are all linked, and nothing divides us. Suppose we don’t let it divide us. It’s amazing what we can do when we come together,” Settles said to a news reporter at the event.