In yesterday’s post, we drove up Hwy 17 and got into Lexington where we saw the courthouse, the jail, the hospital, and the old stagecoach inn. Today we’ll complete our whirlwind tour by heading out from the square and looking at a few of the many other delights to be found in this little hill town hovering near the entrance to the Delta. Just off the square, we pass the Methodist church, its educational wing and then the Baptist church right next door (I don’t have a picture of the Baptist church–I swear it’s nothing personal, just lack of time! You can see a photo here).
Continuing up the same street, you come to one of my favorite spots in town, where if you stand in the middle of the road at this T-intersection (I know you’ll look both ways before going out in the street), you can see a lovely Gothic Episcopal Church, a Neoclassical Presbyterian church, and a whimsical Greek Revival/Italianate house.
If you were to turn the corner at the intersection above, you would come to the historic African American church that I mistakenly referred to as an AME church yesterday but which in fact is Asia Missionary Baptist Church. I am kicking myself, literally kicking myself, that I didn’t take a picture of this 1908 building–it’s very cool, with two towers flanking the front entrance. I know that’s not as good as a picture, but next time you’re in Lexington, check it out–it’s on Church Street.
I really did try to get a picture of the synagogue, but the streets were blocked off for drainage work or something. Temple Beth El was built in 1905 when the Jewish community in Lexington became large enough to construct their own building. You can read all about the small but very influential Jewish community in Lexington as well as the history of the temple at the always-helpful Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities site. One thing I thought was interesting the first and only time I went inside the building with Mr. Flowers was that he called the two small rooms flanking the main entrance “Sunday School” rooms. I guess I would have thought they would be called Sabbath rooms.
As I was searching on Flickr, I noticed that our friend Joseph A has been to Lexington recently and took this beautiful shot of Temple Beth El:
You may have noticed a few other of Joseph A’s photos on previous posts and you can check out his photostream on Flickr. One thing I’ve learned about since starting this blog is the existence of the Creative Commons licenses, with which creators of internet content can allow sharing of their work through a less-restrictive standard than the “All Rights Reserved” we see so often. Many photographers on Flickr, including Joseph A, have chosen this route, and I for one am very thankful because, while I do a lot of traveling around the state taking pictures, I’m just one person and can’t get to everything.
Anyway, on my way out of town, I took Hwy 12 east toward Durant instead of going back on Hwy 17. I got off the road and headed down through a variety of very back roads, guided by my trusty Delorme Atlas, to the Castalian Springs Hotel, which is relatively near Durant, but in fact seems a world away, hidden on dirt roads that were especially iffy given the recent rains. Thank goodness for gravel and diligent road crews or I might still be back there trying to push my car out!