Cherry Street AME Church
A picture of the Cherry Street African Methodist Episcopal Church as it appeared in 2014
Backstory and Context
Established in 1877, Cherry Street AME Church is one of the oldest AME churches in Alabama. The original plot of land that the church was built on was donated by Ms. Elivira Guilfor, a local Black landowner and member of the congregation. The original church was a small wooden chapel originally known as Gaines Chapel Church in honor of Bishop W. J. Gaines. In 1891 and 1901 additional land was purchased by the congregation in preparation to eventually expand their church.
In 1903 the pastor of the church Revered William Hightower raised $8,000 from the local community to fund the construction of a new church building that would be more sturdy than the previous wooden structure. However, when Rev. Hightower went to purchase bricks for the building from brickyard owners the various owners refused to sell him bricks. In response, the congregation children and members banded together to scavenge bricks from around Dothan, from white construction sites, and from abandoned buildings to assemble the bricks required. According to church oral history, the school children of the congregation took bricks from construction sites on the way home from school and other activities, earning them the name of “Brick Carriers.” In 1908 the church was finally complete and dedicated as Cherry Street AME Church.
In 1979 the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Dothan Landmarks Foundation placed a historical marker next to the church in recognition of its long history.
Hilton, Mark. Cherry Street African Methodist Episcopal Church, Historical Marker Database. May 2nd 2014. Accessed November 23rd 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=73362.
Murals, Visit Dothan. Accessed November 23rd 2020. https://visitdothan.com/visit/murals/.
Walls, Kathleen. Dothan's Murals, American Roads and Global Highways. Accessed November 23rd 2020. https://americanroads.net/scenic_road_spring2017.htm.
Walls, Kathleen. It's More than a Building: Cherry St. A.M.E. Church, American Roads and Global Highways. Accessed November 23rd 2020. https://americanroads.net/crt_spring2017.htm.
Sailors, Jimmy. Alabama’s oldest AME church celebrating milestone, Dothan Eagle. December 13th 2012. Accessed November 23rd 2020. https://visitdothan.com/visit/murals/.
Ussery, Peggy. New pastor, members of historic Cherry Street AME Church look to future, Dothan Eagle. June 20th 2020. Accessed November 23rd 2020. https://dothaneagle.com/lifestyles/local/new-pastor-members-of-historic-cherry-street-ame-church-look-to-future/article_5d9f9bce-fd50-5ed8-9e55-3f712e5a3d22.html.
Image taken by Mark Hilton Image Sourced from: https://www.hmdb.org/PhotoFullSize.asp?PhotoID=272000