101-year-old woman helps honor historic Durham church

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Durham's first historic landmark, Massey's Chapel, unveiled a plaque commemorating the church Sunday, and one special lady was there to help. (WTVD)

Durham's first historic landmark, Massey's Chapel, unveiled a plaque commemorating the church Sunday, and one special lady was there to help.

Annie King, 101, has been a member of the church her entire life; it's where she calls home. She's credited with gaining the church's historic status.

Massey's Chapel has been a congregation since 1855 and a building since 1900.

On this Sunday, she stood at the top of the steps in front of the church. With her congregation, she removed a white sheet that covered something she's been hoping to see in her lifetime: a plaque that officially signals the significance of the church.

"It felt good to have all of these people here today," King said.

King's dedication to the church in seeking out landmark status may have been the very thing that saved it from destruction. It's in a desirable location, so the church is constantly beseeched with requests to buy the property.

"To build a townhouse complex, when the dealership next door went in, we weren't sure," said Pastor Kathy Kirkpatrick. "But because we had historic status, we knew they couldn't touch the building or the historic cemetery out back."

King, who has suffered through health issues in recent weeks, reflected on the time she put into seeking out the historic status and what it took to get the plaque out front.

"If you tell somebody that you would like to have something done, and they don't do it, just keep hounding at them. It will get done," King shared.

"Because the chapel enjoys landmark status confirmed by the city, it was easy to make the decision to award the plaque to this property," said Tom Miller with Preservation Durham.

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