Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness Church
Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness Church is located in Laurens County, just off of Highway 308. This photo was taken about 1967.
My father was the pastor here and my mother played piano. My earliest memories of church revolve around this place. This place is burned into our family memory. Every one of us has threatened to write our story about Long Branch. Even now, when I describe it to people, it sounds like I'm describing something out of the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.
My earliest memories are of a white frame building with a small sanctuary and two rooms on either side of the choir loft. The entire time we were there, there were no rest rooms and no plumbing - only outhouses. Dad finally had a pump sunk late in our stay there, so there was a faucet with running water - outside on the pumphouse.
HVAC was unheard of. I remember a coal heater in the middle of the sanctuary with a pipe that exited the ceiling right over the altar railing. When I was five, they replaced the coal heater with oil heat, so the pipe went away, and a decorative plate covered the opening left by the pipe in the ceiling. Honey bees built a nest in the ceiling above the plate, so every spring and summer, honey would drip onto the altar.
The church was at the end of a country road with a hog farm next door so summer brought its own challenges with a lack of AC. We could open the windows and get the stench from next door, or we could swelter.