Historic Stroudsburg church undergoing restoration project to become a museum

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(WBRE/WYOU) — A historic church in Stroudsburg that was built in 1868 and was a place for minorities to congregate is getting close to becoming a museum.

The historical association that oversees the building talks about the next step in their 17-year journey to reach their goal of becoming an asset to the community. The Little Bethel AME church has been under restoration for about 15 years.

The roof was replaced. The floors, walls, and windows were redone over the years. The building has housed some fundraising events in the past three years as a way to continue to reach the museum goal.

“It’s a part of history that is forgotten about and that shouldn’t be forgotten about. The purpose as I understand it was to have a place of worship for minorities,” Stroudsburg Little Bethel Historical Association president Wayne Bolt said. “The soldiers back in those days, minority soldiers, African American soldiers had no churches to go to and they weren’t allowed to go to certain churches so this was built for them to come to. The bodyguards for Lincoln were part of this church.”

The next step is putting a bathroom with some storage space on the site which may cost in excess of $100,000. The Little Bethel Historical Association maintains the building and does the fundraising.

“Right now there is no functioning plumbing and to have, particularly if you have elderly folks, it’s difficult to have a function where you don’t have bathroom facilities. We kind of at part of the finish line because part of the finish line was to be able to open it and have folks come and see at least some semblance of what it was,” board member Wieslaw Niemoczynski said.

For more information, click here. We will also have more on the Little Bethel A.M.E. church in our Hidden History special celebrating black history in February.

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