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Volunteers restore historic New Mexico black church

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A historic New Mexico black church located near the U.S.-Mexico border has been restored.

Volunteers in Las Cruces have finished a seven-year project using mud, mortar and adobe bricks to revamp the Phillips Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

The one-room church was built in 1911 in the heart of Las Cruces’ historic black neighborhood.

Both the exterior and interior of the building were restored, repairing windows, replacing doors and refinishing interior flooring and woodwork.

New Mexico State University anthropology professor emeritus Beth O’Leary says volunteers who worked on the church ranged from 8-years-old to 85.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the state’s oldest existing African American church.