The Philadelphia Baptist congregation was established in 1840. The original church was located approximately two miles east of its present site. Slaves were invited to join the church and they soon comprised about half of the church membership. During the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, tensions arose between the Black and White members which eventually lead the White congregation to move to the present Philadelphia Church site. The Black congregation continued worship at the original location and changed the name of their church to Antioch. (Antioch later built a new brick church building nearby and they are still active.)
The current Philadelphia church sanctuary was built circa 1913. It is a one-story structure with cathedral type stained glass and two towers. The taller tower houses the belfry. The Philadelphia Church is listed in Alabama’s Tapestry of Historic Places 1978 published by the Alabama Historical Commission. It is located in the community of Tunnel Springs in Monroe County on CR-42 approximately 0.5 mile from the intersection of CR-42 and Hwy-21/47 (GPS coordinates 31.648422,-87.239536).
Sources: 1) Monroe County Heritage Museum Legacy Magazine, Rural Monroe County Churches; 2) The Heritage of Monroe County, Alabama, prepared by The Monroe County Heritage Book Committee; 3) Alabama’s Tapestry of Historic Places 1978 published by the Alabama Historical Commission.