Since the ending of the formal church membership, the care of the old log church building and the graveyard has been done on a very informal basis. The cemetery care was usually done once per year, either in the late spring or early fall by those having relatives buried there, and in recent years by others interested in maintaining this historic site. On the Saturday before Labor Day a group of people have gathered to clean the church and cemetery.
Upkeep and maintenance had been sporadic at best until recent years. In about 1938 careless campers started a fire on the floor which burned a large hole. Perhaps in the early 1940's a new floor was placed by Jasper Harper of White Plains. Mr. Harper is also reported to have replaced the gable siding and the roof about 1952. The covered dinner table was built most likely in the 1960's. Self-appointed "trustees" continued to do overall repairs to the church in more recent years. This included Charles Roach, Newman Roach, J. E. (Eston) Holley, Sherman Holley, Jess Butler, Alvin Jack Roach, W. E. Holley and William Lee Jones.
Seeing the value of the structure and the threat of neglect and time passage, concerned local citizens sought to have the church building preserved. Application was made in 1973 to have the Shoal Creek Baptist Church listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This designation was granted in 1974. The original application and supporting forms are available here for viewing. (Download free Adobe Acrobat Reader).
In 1980 three logs were replaced on the west side. One log was replaced on each of the south and east sides in 1982. Also in 1982 the roof structure was strengthened and a new metal roof was installed. Another major effort was undertaken in 1999 with replacement of multiple logs and other renovation under the direction of Houston Jones of Heflin.
Perhaps no one single person has been more influential in recent years in the preservation of the Shoal Creek Church than William Lee Jones. Lee Jones was a grandson of George Oscar Jones who was one of the original settlers in these parts. The first-born of George and Tabitha Edwards Jones was Leo Randall Jones, who was too young to help in building the current church in 1895. However, he vividly remembered carrying water to the men as they worked. Leo's son Lee personally did much work on the property and building and also saw the need to create a self-perpetuating organization to protect and preserve the church.
And thus was the Shoal Creek Baptist Church Preservation Society, Inc. created under the leadership of William Lee Jones. The Society is a non-profit corporation legally chartered under Alabama law for the sole purpose of protecting and preserving the church building and the 2.83 acres on which it sets. The land and church are not National Forest property, though the forest service graciously maintains the roads leading to the church. The Society was formed in September 1986 just one year before Lee's untimely death. Two of Leo's other sons continue to serve on the board, which number had been three until the passing of Leo L. (Sam) Jones in October 2007.
The current board members are:
|President||Houston Jones||Heflin, ALfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Vice President||Gene Holley||Anniston, AL|
|Secretary/Treasurer||Joseph Jones||Huntsville, ALemail@example.com|
|Robert Cheatwood||Alpharetta, GAfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|John English||Jacksonville, AL|
|Ernest Roach||Heflin, AL|
|Sonja Randle||Weaver, ALemail@example.com|
|Alvin Jack Roach||Jacksonville, AL|
|Les Jones||Heflin, ALfirstname.lastname@example.org|