In 1774, defenders of the Clinch River frontier built a stockade-style fort in Elk Garden. This fort was located just south of State Route 19, on land now owned by the Stuart Land and Cattle Company, and in the general vicinity of the historic Elk Garden Methodist Church. Founded in 1788, the Elk Garden Church is the second oldest church in Russell County.
The church has a rich history and welcomes visitors. In fact, 1976 when the TransAmerica Bike Route was formed, they opened a cyclist’s hostel on church property. The hostel welcomes any bikers who are passing through, with no reservations required. The kitchen is available for use, the hostel has AC and a shower (cold water only). Riders can also tent camp on the church grounds, or even sleep inside the church if they prefer to not camp.