In the center of east Cobb County, maybe 50 yards from busy Roswell Road, sits what has been preserved more than 180 years--an arbor where the faithful gather for 10 days every summer to sing hymns and worship.
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The Marietta Campground was founded by four farmers who gave 10 acres of land each to have a dedicated place to worship and thank God for their bounties.
“They first started meeting on this site in 1837, and then they decided this was going to be something they wanted to make sure they always did. So, this arbor was erected by the next camp meeting in 1838,” says Cheryl Lassiter, president of the Tentholders Association.
She tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish the so-called “tents” are actually cabins that were erected by the first families and grew to 23 over the years. Generations come back every year for the 10-day revival.
“Some of the cabins are over 100 years old,” says Susie Gantt who married into one of those families. Her three children attended the camp meeting when they were young and now their children attend.
“Your kids can run free, everybody watches everybody else’s children. It’s things they never forget and it’s lifelong friends,” she says.
Chuck Johnson, chair of the board of directors, says the camp meetings were only interrupted by the Civil War and on occasion Indians.
“At the first camp meeting they actually set up wagons and brought laying hens and cows and their food with them,” he says.
Now nearly 200 years later, the arbor has electricity and the cabins have working bathrooms. But the singing of old hymns and visiting preachers remains the same.
“It does something to people’s souls to be able to sing those old songs and have the fresh air while we’re worshiping. It’s just an experience like no other,” says Lassiter.
Two camp meetings will be held each day at the site located at 2300 Roswell Road at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. through Sunday.