Alto Presbyterian Church was founded in 1872, and the present building was constructed in 1874. The building in constructed of rough cypress that was cut and milled locally, and constructed by the congregation. The cemetery behind the church predates the building, with graves dating back before and immediately after the Civil War. The building stands upon the highest ridge in Richland Parish in the community of Alto, Louisiana, just across a field from Boeuf River. It has been the site of countless baptisms, weddings, funerals, and stands as an icon of the typical country church.
While the church is still petitioned several times a year to be the site for weddings, it has not been able to be fully functional for the past several years due to severely damaged foundation and floors. The pier and beam foundation needs to be lifted, beams replaced, and drainage installed under the church to correct the problem. About 20 years ago a similar problem was repaired, and when the building was lifted parts of the flooring were severely damaged and were replaced. Currently, the church only holds services once a quarter due to the issues with the building. In addition, the original wiring from the early 30’s needs to be replaced and lighting in the building needs to be upgraded to current standards (using LED fixtures) so bulbs will not have to be replaced frequently. Several years ago painters were hired to paint the interior and exterior and they watered down paint, leaving the building with paint peeling. Recent wet weather has caused accelerated deterioration of paint finishes inside and out.
Our goal is to repair the foundation, install drainage to prevent further deterioration, rewire for safety and efficiency, and repaint interior and exterior to preserve the building. We want the building be an active part of the community and a reliable place to worship once more.
We have been awarded a grant by First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport that will cover part of the cost, but we know we will need to at least match that amount to complete the first phase of repairs. This is just one of several fundraisers we have planned. This goal is approximately 1/4 of the amount needed. We will begin work on the repairs as soon as we have funds accumulated and can schedule the work with a certified, licensed, and bonded contractor. We anticipate the work to take three to six months depending upon when the work starts and weather.
Please help us save this beautiful historic building to serve generations to come!