Wake Forest Historical Museum

LOCATION: 414 N. Main Street Wake Forest, NC 27587 CONTACT: 919-556-2911

Rain Saves Lives at Olive Branch Baptist Church

It was February 10, 1946 when heavy rain struck–bringing with it a miracle that could be called fate, luck, or Providence.

As it was a Sunday morning, the children of Olive Branch Baptist Church were looking forward to Sunday School at nine o’clock and playing together in the churchyard before class. But because the weather was so very bad, the superintendent decided not to bring them out in the February cold and wet.

Instead, the bell was rung for morning assembly almost an hour later. What followed was a loud snap of metal and ripping of wood as the 150-pound brass bell splintered the porch ceiling and crashed through the floor.

Because of the rain delay there had been no first bell to call the children, no second bell to bring them inside, and no children on the porch. Nobody was injured or killed.

The original article says that, in its long and storied history, Olive Branch had never before postponed due to weather. The congregation was founded on the Wake Forest College campus in the 1830s and gained independence after Emancipation. In the 1940s, the wooden building was located on Juniper Avenue in the East End, where the modern brick church stands today.

As for the bell, it had been in place for about fifty years. It was the old Wake Forest College bell, donated to the Institute at the first meeting of the Board of Trustees in 1834. When a larger bell was acquired around 1875, the old one was donated to a country school and later made its way to Olive Branch Baptist Church.

The eyewitness who related this story to to the Old Gold & Black said, “It looked like the hand of God.”

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This entry was posted on February 23, 2017 by in East End and tagged , , , .

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Tues-Fri: 9am-noon & 1:30-4:30pm
Sun: 2pm-5pm

Closed: Saturday and Monday

Call us at 919.556.2911

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A lovely bouquet left by the Wake Forest Garden Club. WFHS tassel. We’re going through the collection and it’s fun! Downtown Zebulon, NC at night. Simply stunning. Want to know what today’s weather was like exactly 90-years ago? This 1928 Farm Journal was kept at Oakforest in Forestville and that day was “Fair and cold. Henry, Richard and I went to Raleigh today. Philo and Junior sawed and hauled firewood and then hauled logs to the same mill.” Many thanks to Barbara Massenburg for giving us a look at this very cool artifact!