Matthew Phillips, Hambleton City Councilman, and Linda Bates, Hambleton’s mayor for the past six years, announced that The Town of Hambleton has recently acquired the church building next to town hall with the intention of turning it into a museum.
Linda Bates was the town clerk when ten years ago the mayor was forced to resign due to a heart condition. However, she was and continues to be elected and has made many improvements for Hambleton. She has been instrumental in the town applying for and receiving grants to make major improvements in Hambleton, one for $25,000 to put siding, windows and doors on the town hall, one for $500,000 that was used to put storm drains throughout town and install sidewalks. “We’ve put in one sidewalk a year, except last year we were able to put in two,” Bates asserted. “We’re working on another $500,000 grant through Region VII to complete the sidewalks in town.”
Bates wanted to get the old Goff Memorial Church building for the town as a museum so to accomplish that they started having yard sales to raise money. The fees necessary for the acquisition were paid through the yard sales and through generous donations by interested citizens. At one time the Tucker County Historical Society was in the upstairs of town hall, but when it moved to Parsons there were some items the people of Hambleton wanted kept in their town. These will also be on display in the church museum after all repairs are made.
The church building sits up on a knoll to the right of town hall and even in its state of disrepair is attractive. Most of the stained glass windows are undamaged and even though the day was gray and rainy their beauty still shone through. The main problems with the building are a roof leak that damaged the entryway wall and the bathroom and some burst pipes. However, none of the pews, their cushions, or the woodwork was damaged.
Through the years many different denominations have held services in the church but it has been unoccupied for the past ten years. The small graveyard behind the church is very old and even has some slave graves marked only with rough rocks.
The town has recently appointed Michael Wamsley as their police judge. The reason there was a need for a law judge was neither the mayor nor councilmen had the ability to fine or otherwise enforce laws on the books to protect the citizens of Hambleton. Wansley will serve only on an “as needed” basis to minimize the town’s financial obligation. When Bates began considering the need for a police judge she was able to turn to another local law judge for advice.
Article submitted By Pamela Ruediger
The Parsons Advocate