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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Log Chapel: 1864

Log Chapel: 1864

November 1864. "Church built by the 50th Engineers at Poplar Grove, near Petersburg, Virginia." Wet plate glass negative. View full size.

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To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Civil War database

One of the real benefits of Shorpy's is the info provided by its readers.
After viewing this photo, and reading the comments, I discovered a database of Civil War Soldiers and Sailors (CWSS). Created and maintained by the National Park Service, it includes the burial records of the Poplar Grove Cemetery at the Petersburg National Battlefield.


Lost art

The construction technique reminds me very much of a popular early 20th century art called "tramp art". Highly collectable these days. Never saw it used in a building.

Engineer insignia

The Engineer castle insignia above the front door is a nice touch. Awesome photo.

An "Oh WOW" Moment!

That is what I said when I spotted this image. What a magnificent piece of workmanship. It even has the Corps of Engineers emblem above the doorway.

Is this structure still in existence? I doubt if it is, but it would be great if it is still there.

Are there any images showing the interior?

Where Valor Proudly Sleeps

Poplar Grove National Cemetery

The church survived until April 1868, when, because of its deteriorated condition, the structure was torn down. The area where it stood was then used for burial purposes.


Granite? We don't need no stinking granite.

Poplar Photography

Right there in front, leaning up against the sidewalk, is a huge Petzval lens mounted on a camera lens board! These, in smaller sizes, are popular today with a segment of large format film photographers because the lenses are very sharp in the middle but the image "swirls" around the edges. Such a large, heavy lens could only go on a rather large camera. I assume the photographer of this image changed lenses and set that one next to the sidewalk for safekeeping.

Poplar Mechanics

For more info on the log chapel, see this document, starting at page 24.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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