11. Maps of Shape-Note Singing Locations

Some of the best Sacred Harp and other traditional singings are held in remote rural churches in the South, accessed by secondary, even unpaved, roads. Because the now-ubiquitous GPS devices sometimes provide erroneous directions, particularly on back roads, good maps as well as good directions are helpful to get to some singings.

Map locations and GPS coordinates of Southern Cooper Book singings. Ryan Ewell Bowman has created a very useful Google map showing precise locations for many singings from The Sacred Harp Revised Cooper Edition in southern Alabama, southern Georgia, and Florida panhandle. He has compiled the venue names, addresses, GPS coordinates, and directions for these singings. The map is a work in progress as Mr. Bowman receives more information from the Cooper Book singers.

[NEW] Google Map of locations of Sacred Harp (1991 Edition) singings. Mark Godfrey, Nathan Rees and Jesse Karlsberg have prepared a Google map showing locations of venues of a number singings from The Sacred Harp, 1991 Edition. On a menu at the left of the map, clicking on the name of a singing venue (usually church) brings up the address and a link to a close-up Google map with the venue location pinpointed. Current data, which are limited and incomplete, are for singings in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, but national expansion is envisioned. The project and request for information are described here.

Maps to Shape-Note Singings, produced by Karen Willard and Tim Slattery. The remarkable site previously on the Fasola Home Page had two high-quality maps (large and small format) with driving directions and information for each of many singing locations, with emphasis on the hard-to-find locations in the rural South. As of November 2000, over 280 singings at over 210 locations were included. Karen Willard researched and created the maps and driving directions, while Tim Slattery did the CGI programming. However, in 2014 the content of this site was removed because it was considered out of date. There is still a placeholder web page waiting for possible updated content.

Map of 2004 Sacred Harp Singings, compiled by Will Fitzgerald. A map of the U.S. showing circles where singings listed in the 2004 Minutes book took place. The map is useful for showing roughly the locations of singings, although the number of singings listed in the Minutes book has increased since 2004, and several "empty" states in 2004 are no longer devoid of major singings.

State-government produced county maps showing back roads and sometimes even country churches are for many states downloadable without charge from the websites of state transportation departments. Printed paper maps are sometimes also available for sale to the public, but a phone inquiry to the department may be required.

Internet: Street and road maps showing a U.S. street address can be obtained from sites such as Google Maps and Mapquest.

GPS Software: GPS devices may be helpful in finding country churches, but a good address or coordinates are often helpful. Many country churches may not have precise street or mailing addresses, and also they usually lack phone numbers, so they may not be found on GPS directories of churches, etc. in a particular area. A good map and a good GPS complement each other.

Steven L. Sabol (sabol@his.com)
HTML version by Warren Steel (mudws@olemiss.edu)