Briceville Church and Cemetery were added to the National Register of Historic Places in August 2003. Perched on a hill in the middle of town, overlooking Coal Creek Valley, Briceville Church was built in 1888 by immigrant Welsh coal miners. The church has twin steeples and entrances because the Welsh miners and their families had reportedly broken into two factions. Each faction entered through its own door and sat on its side of the church during services.
The oldest headstone in the cemetery is that of John Irish who died on January 17, 1889. The cemetery was formally organized in 1908 as the Briceville Union Cemetery.
This church and cemetery document the turbulent history of the Coal Creek Watershed. From 1891 to 1892, miners fought the Tennessee militia over the use of convict labor in area coal mines during the Coal Creek War. The church was a temporary jail for miners captured by the militiamen. Also, 21 of the 300 miners killed in the May 19, 1902, Fraterville Mine explosion and the December 9, 1911 Cross Mountain Mine explosion are buried here.
After the 1911 Cross Mountain Mine explosion, engineers and apparatus crews from the U.S. Bureau of Mines mounted a rescue effort. Although 84 men and boys were found dead, 5 miners were rescued, the first successful mine rescue effort by the Bureau of Mines. The abandoned Cross Mountain Mine is located one mile up Slatestone Road from here.
For more information on the church and cemetery and the ongoing efforts to preserve it, visit http://www.coalcreekaml.com/BricevilleChurch.htm.