Old church seems remote

verbious

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Jun 21, 2012
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Elizabeth, PA
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I've been researching old maps from the late 1800 and early 1900s and comparing them to overhead imagery and other sources in my quest for new areas to metal detect.

I've found a church marked on a map that appears to be in a very remote location and I wonder why it would be so far away from anything? Any ideas? There are roads leading to the church, but there isn't a town very nearby and there are not that many houses close by either. The church is located with 500-700' of a river, but the terrain is so very steep from the river and railroad tracks.

If anyone could provide some insight into why a church would be located in such a remote area, I would greatly appreciate it!
 

miboje

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Mar 21, 2016
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I don't know what state you are from, but I have free access to historical aerial images for my state. Check the sub-forum for your state to see if anyone has provided a link or resource. That may help to see how different the area looked years ago. You may find that it used to be more populated in that area, and no longer is not.
 
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verbious

verbious

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Jun 21, 2012
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Elizabeth, PA
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I'm in Pennsylvania. I use historic aerials. I also use some topo maps that are from the 1900s.

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Rustynailsandscrews

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Sep 26, 2014
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You don't say what year the map is that your looking at. I found a church here in Up State NY that was in remote area on a dead end dirt road and not near any town or village. It dated back to the early 1800's with some graves in the 1700's. The church is no longer there but there are many grave stones to be found in the woods. The stones are all in very poor condition and no one would ever know anything existed here. There is no reason for this exist where it does but it's there. On the other hand don't take old maps to be carved in stone. They can be inaccurate and are at best an approximation. Trust me I know. I live in a house built in the early 1800's but it doesn't show up on a map until the 1930's.
 
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verbious

verbious

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Jun 21, 2012
435
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Elizabeth, PA
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Fisher F75 SE
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I've got to get into the woods and see if I can find it. The map is from the early 1900s. There are roads leading to the church on that map, and I can match enough roads that still exist to be sure of the location. I was just wondering if it really is a church, why would it be so far away from everything?

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Loco-Digger

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Sometimes land was donated for a church to be built as well as old schools. The site may have had a great view and thus a perfect spot for a church. Cemeteries were normally at the edge of a town or just outside of towns.
 

Mifarmer

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Jun 30, 2014
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I think you aught to find an older map, or find the local pub where all the old timers go for coffee in the morning. Strike up some conversations and tell them your into studying the history of it. I've learned a lot and gotten permission from many people doing that. And they are the ones that have the knowledge of the past In that area. Heck I detected the bar basement too after the owner learned of my hobby.
Kyle-
 

miboje

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Mar 21, 2016
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Yeah, see if you can find some older maps of the area.
 

dr-quest

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Feb 25, 2007
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Churches were the most important first building in many sites and often the only one important enough to show on a map, doesn't mean there were not other dwellings around, Maybe a logging camp with more tents then permanent buildings, just a thought, HH
 
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verbious

verbious

Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2012
435
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Elizabeth, PA
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Fisher F75 SE
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There were plenty of coal mines in the area in the late 1800s. There were ferries that ran across the river, so I suppose that just about anything is possible! I'm gonna see if I can't find it and seeing the detector in the area.

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Curtis

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Sep 3, 2008
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old insurance maps are a source...Sandborn or something like that. Also old quadrangle maps often mark mines and other nearby places that are not there now.
 

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