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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

017-5032 Reverend Robert Childress Presbyterian Rock Churches MPD

Reverend Robert Childress Presbyterian Rock Churches MPD
*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 12/06/2006

NRHP Listing Date 03/30/2007

NPS property number 64500975

The Reverend Robert Childress Presbyterian Rock Churches MPD facilitates the register listings for the six rock-faced churches associated with the Rev. Robert W. Childress that are located in Floyd, Carroll, and Patrick counties. Built between 1919 and the early 1950s by Childress, a Presbyterian minister, the six churches embody Appalachian patterns of Presbyterian religious worship and social activism in the relatively isolated Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia. The six churches also tell the story of the remarkable ministry of the Rev. Childress, who brought spiritual faith and social awakening to the people of the central portion of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A former hard drinking and fighting man of little education, Childress returned to school at the age of 30 and received his ordination 11 years later. He moved to Buffalo Mountain, Carroll County, in 1926, where he led the construction of the Buffalo Mountain Church (pictured above), which inspired the establishment of the five other churches. In addition to spiritual leadership, the Rev. Childress spearheaded social improvements in the three counties, including transportation projects financed by Works Progress Administration funds during the Great Depression, bringing women into active church leadership, and the encouragement of higher education for local children. All six churches are still places of worship: five of them are still Presbyterian, while one has become Baptist.


Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated March 5, 2019