CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Fire late Wednesday night destroyed Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Clarksville.
The church, located on Gholson Road, was built in 1836 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The church was also the site where country singer Trace Adkins and actor Stephen Baldwin filmed a music video last September.
The cause of the fire is not known but firefighters believe lightning in the area Wednesday night may have struck the steeple.
Shortly after 11 p.m., a passing motorist spotted the blaze and then called 911.
By the time fire officials got to the scene, it was too late. Witnesses say the walls were already falling in.
"Well when I got here part of the wall over there was still up, but the whole place was on fire. Most of the front was gone," said 18-year-old Elliot Lavery, who snapped a few pictures of the burning church.
Lavery says the church was a major part of his life and held many great memories for him.
"I helped out in sunday school. I used to help light the candles at the beginning of every service, a lot. It's a major part of my life," he said.
Lavery attended the church his whole life and his mother is the church pianist.
Church members began gathering at the church's smoldering remains early Thursday.
They saw the building where they once held services, now leveled to its foundation.
One of those members was 85-year-old Charles Binkley who has attended the church for 60 years.
"I will certainly miss part of my life here at this church," Binkley said. "Just unbelievable this morning when they called me. The church had burned. I couldn't believe it. It's just such a devastating thing to happen in this community."
Church members say they will rebuild.
"The important message here is the church is the people, not the building," said Jessica Kelley, the wife of Pastor Matthew Kelley.
She said services will be held at the site, weather permitting, at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Bethlehem United Methodist Church has 150 members.
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