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.


Google Maps of singing locations in Georgia and northeastern Alabama. The Sacred Harp Singing in Georgia website, maintained by Atlanta singer Debora Grosse, has zoomable Google maps showing the locations of all the singings in Georgia and northeastern Alabama listed in the website's directory of Annual Singings. The locations listed in the directory are linked to expanded Google maps showing the precise positions of the singing locations, usually with photographs. The listed singings use one or more of the following tunebooks: several Sacred Harp revisions (1991 Edition, Cooper Book, J.L. White edition), Christian Harmony, The Georgian Harmony, and The Social Harp. Note that this collection of maps does not encompass the entire shape-note singing area of the South. These maps were developed by Ms. Grosse, while some GPS coordinates were provided by Jesse Karlsberg.

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.

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.

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)