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Exterior renovations continue on historic Rogersville church

Jeff Bobo • Apr 25, 2019 at 11:25 AM

ROGERSVILLE — The second leg of an exterior restoration of the 107-year-old St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church was completed this week with the installation of new guttering.

Last month the church received a new roof, and the committee overseeing the historic preservation will soon be advertising for bids for scraping and painting the siding, replacing windows, replacing rotting wood, and any other needed repairs.

On Tuesday, Rogersville Guttering closed Hasson Street to bring in a cherry picker to install new guttering on the bell tower and main roof.

St. Mark’s was part of the old Swift College campus and is now on the Hawkins County school system’s Central Office campus.

In 2015, St. Mark’s was identified as being among the 10 most endangered historic sites in Tennessee.

That year a committee of concerned citizens received a 99-year lease for St. Mark’s from the Hawkins County Board of Education and launched an attempt to renovate the former African-American church.

Grant funding has been awarded to cover the roof and guttering, as well as the facade.

Rogersville Building Inspector Steve Nelson, who also sits on the St. Mark’s Renovation Committee, told the Times News that the renovation of the building’s facade should begin this summer.

Last month RJR Construction of Rogersville replaced the roof and repaired the soffit.

The section of Hasson Street adjacent to the church was closed due to the roof work taking place.

St. Mark’s was founded in 1875 as the first African-American Presbyterian church in Rogersville.

The current building was constructed in 1912 and is located at the corner of Hasson and Kyle streets on the campus of the former Swift College, which is now owned by the Hawkins County Board of Education.

The church dissolved in 2002 and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2006.

A previous effort to restore St. Mark’ for use as a community center lost momentum in 2008 when the project’s champion, longtime teacher and school board member Ella Jo Bradley, passed away.

Bradley’s vision for the facility was to transform it into a community center for children to practice the arts.

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