A Replica of the Original Bethlehem Baptist Church

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Bethlehem Baptist Church Replica
A replica of the original Bethlehem Baptist Church in Hahnville.

14989 River Road, Hahnville, La.

The St. Charles Historical Foundation, Ethnic Heritage Committee, initiated this project in an effort to preserve one of our historic treasures in St. Charles Parish. Missionaries founded the church in 1865. The original structure had to be removed to build the existing church, which was recently renovated in 2001. Kermit Dufour, using a photograph of the original church and oral history from Reverend John Davis, Reverend Rodney Johnson Sr. and a longtime member, Geraldine Baker, constructed the replica. The replica is encased in a structure in front of the existing church. The historic structure is a tangible artifact that helps establish our identity and tradition.

Bethlehem Baptist Church Replica - Image
Replica of the Historic Bethlehem Baptist Church (1869-1978).

Kermit Dufour constructed the replica in 5 weeks, after indicating that he could not handle the project. His reason being, “It would take 8 months to a year to complete and I cannot make that type of commitment.” Kermit gave serious thought about his response and decided to pray about the project. The day after his refusal, Kermit said, “Someone from above told me I should take on the project, therefore I must do it”. Together with inspiration from God and support from his spouse Madeline, Kermit began the project. He worked diligently and acknowledged, “It was a labor of love.”

Kermit donated over 80 hours of his time and supplies to complete the project. The shell is made from 1/2 inch plywood. The bell tower is 6 inches by 6inches. There are 18 cypress pews. The floor is notched to resemble board flooring. Tedious assembly required that the pews and altar be installed before the walls and ceiling were constructed. The eight windows measuring 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches took about 3 days to complete and install. The cypress weatherboards, 1 1/4 inches by 1/8 inch are painted white to resemble white wash, which was used in the 1800s. The roof is made of cypress shingles, which are 2 inches by 1/8 inch thick. There are approximately 900 separate shingles.

Kermit acknowledged Joe Schexnayder, a draftsman, provided architectural drawings and Don Gauthreaux helped with the heavy work. An anonymous donor provided funds for supplies.

Total dimensions: 4ft.x2ft.