Moss Hill Methodist Church Handprints – Vernon, Florida - Atlas Obscura

Moss Hill Methodist Church Handprints

Ancient church constructed with a special wood that preserves prints from the past. 


The Moss Hill Methodist Church, a wooden church located near Vernon in Washington County, Florida, was built in 1857 using slave labor. The church is still used today for services, even though little has changed from when it was used more than 100 years ago.

The building is without electricity, lighted instead by kerosene lamps scattered along the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Reportedly, the church is so old that it was only the second structure in the county to be constructed with glass windows.

The property that the church sits on also holds a cemetery that houses several Confederate graves, including that of a man who lived for 125 years, from 1838 until 1963.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Moss Hill Methodist Church is most famous for the wood used in its construction. Built of lumber milled from pine heartwood (also known as “Fat Literd” in the West Florida dialect), the sticky resin on the new lumber captured the hand, finger, and foot prints of those handling it. Visitors can walk in and see the footprints of children and hand prints of the carpenters who built the church in 1857. As it ages, this wood grows stronger, impervious to both water damage and nesting termites.

Know Before You Go

Moss Hill is located in Washington County, Florida, near the town of Vernon. The Church is at the junction of Greenhead Road and Vernon Road.

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August 19, 2010

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