NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — More than 150 years of history can be found in a little church off Elm Hill Pike in Nashville.

“My wife and I looked at this church back in about 2017,” John Vincent recalled.

When Vincent first discovered Ebenezer AME Church, he knew nothing about its story.

“It goes back to 1867,” he said.

That was the year Nashville’s very first African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded. It was later rebuilt in the early 20th century, but now the building sits empty and for sale.

“That triggered a response in me when I seen the time in which this church was founded, how long it’s existed,” Vincent explained. “We wanted to keep that history alive.”

Soon Vincent met realtor Julie Davis, who got him in contact with the church’s owner.

“I really felt strongly that ultimately we would find the right people that would keep it a church,” she said.

According to Davis, when the owner initially purchased the church three years ago, he also didn’t know of its legacy.

“This is a very important piece of Nashville history, and so once he saw that there was a family that was interested in making that a reality, he was very open to hoping that we could achieve that goal,” Davis told News 2.

Vincent is now working to raise $300,000 to purchase and restore this church.

“We have a very new Nashville, if you will,” he said. “We’ve got people that are moving in and buildings are going up and things are being erased from the history of this landmark that I think is a very precious landmark and worth saving.”

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With nearly $20,000 raised so far, Vincent believes the community can help bring new life to this forgotten piece of Nashville history.

“I’m hopeful that we can do this so that we can continue the legacy of doing work in this community and helping the citizens of Nashville who live in this community and abroad,” he explained.

The owner has since put a new roof on the church, but Vincent said if he can purchase the property, they will work to fully restore it. He also plans to work to have the church designated as a historical property as well.

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