January 28

The Inspiring Story of “The Church in the Wildwood” and Alabama’s Cover

It’s amazing when the things we imagine, without anyone knowing, miraculously come to life. We wonder how come that happened if no one knows what you were imagining. Perhaps, it may be God who made your imagination come true, or maybe it was just a coincidence. It doesn’t matter whatever it is, as long as it will serve a wonderful purpose.

The Inspiration Behind the Song

Here’s the story of Dr. William S. Pitts’ imagination that came to life. One day, he was on his way to Fredericksburg, Iowa to visit his fiancée. He stopped on a woodland area, and there he wandered around. As he was looking around, he imagined a church standing on that place. He kept this imagination to himself and turned it into a song, “The Church in the Wildwood.” The song was written for him only. He never shared it to anybody or performed it in public.

black and white photo of Dr. William S. Pitts
Photo Credit: Dr. William S. Pitts/ en.wikipedia.org

After five years, as he and his wife returned to Fredericksburg, Iowa, there on that exact place where he imagined a church, stood a real church painted in brown. This amazed Pitts as his imagination back then has come to life now.

In honor of the small brown church, Pitts let his class performed the song he wrote.

What Happened to the Church?

The church was closed in 1888, as the town was slowly declining, and the people are moving out of it. The church was brought back to life in 1914, and Pitts’ song became popular again. Furthermore, visitors come to see this beautiful church.

Alabama’s Version

This classical gospel song inspired many artists to perform the song, and one of them is the country band Alabama. The band recorded the song as part of their second gospel album Songs of Inspiration II. The band never released “The Church in the Wildwood” as a single. Therefore, it never entered the Billboard chart. However, their album scored the number one spot on the Top Christian Album chart. In addition, it placed at number three on the Country Albums chart, and number thirty-three on the Billboard 200. During the 39th GMA Dove Awards, the album was nominated for Country Album of the Year.

Come and listen to the story of how Dr. Pitts’ imagination turned into reality.


Alabama, The Church in the Wildwood, Williams S. Pitts

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