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Buck Island (Buckeyeland) Church

This simple frame church located on the west side of Buck Island Road (Rt. 729) south of Buck Island Creek was typical of the rural churches built in Albemarle County in the late 19th century.


Buck Island Church was a compact (24’3” x 30’3”), rectangular structure with single-bay front and two-bay side facades covered by a gable, wood-shingled roof, making it similar in appearance to other nearby churches. A double door four panel door provided immediate entry into the sanctuary. The interior also was relatively plain. The 14’ ceilings were covered with matchboard while the walls were plastered, with 3’ vertical wainscoting along the bottom.

A rectangular, raised platform was built at the rear of the church and held the altar and lectern. The combination of balloon-framing and traditional Virginia framing techniques made its structure similar to that of other contemporary church buildings in the area such as Mount Eagle.

According to oral tradition, a group of local Methodists organized a congregation in the 1820s and first built a log church on the site. The church served as a place of worship for both Methodists and Baptists until the 20th century, when it became solely a Methodist church. The church’s long history and name were noted in an 1860 deed, which made reference to “Buck Eyeland Church—located there for a long time past.” Other documents referred to “Buck Island” Church, using the same name and spelling given to a nearby creek, island, and farm. Malcolm Hensley, a former member of the church, told state surveyors in 1981 that the congregation built a new church in 1890 because the log structure had become infested with fleas as a result of pigs living under the building.

Buck Mountain Church closed its doors in the 1950s as a result of declining church membership. In 1981, a local resident claimed ownership of the property and partially dismantled the church before being stopped by the local Methodist Conference, which held the deed to the church. The church has since collapsed. A large cemetery still remains just south of the church site.

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Visitor Comments:

MarciaPecor says - November 02, 2011

Do you have more specific directions to this site?  I have relatives who may be interred in the cemetery you mention.  Do you know if anyone takes care of this cemetery?

Any information you could provide will be VERY much appreciated!

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Monica Johnson says - August 24, 2012

Marcia, I live right across from the cemetery. I have lived here for many years but have never gone over there to look around. I just decided to look it up online tonight to see if I could find out any info on it. If you know where Shadwell is and you’re owning from Pantops Mtn., take a right at the light at Shadwell onto N. Milton Rd. Go to the end and take a left at the stop sign onto Milton Rd.(Rt. 729). Follow all the way to the end and take a slight right then slight left at the stop sign onto Buck Island Rd.(Rt. 729).  Mt. Eagle Baptist Church is directly across from the stop sign. Drive 1.5 miles and you’ll see Buckeyeland Lane on the left side at the top of the hill on the curve. Our mailboxes are at the end of our neighborhood. The cemetery is across the street from our mailboxes. I don’t think anyone takes care of it. I’ve never seen anyone over there. You can park at the entrance to our neighborhood if you’d like to go over there. I don’t know if there’s even a way to drive into the cemetery. Be careful crossing the road. It’s a dangerous curve and people fly down the rd. Email me if you need further directions or info. I think my son and I will go visit the cemetery tomorrow. We were always told the church burned down. If I can be of any help let me know. (:

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