Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church

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NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Named in honor of James Waddell, Orange County’s blind preacher, this country church is Virginia’s finest specimen of Carpenters’ Gothic architecture. A forest of spires sprouts from the nave, transepts, and vestry of the board-and-batten structure. All of the details are formed from milled boards reduced by sawing to the desired shapes and nailed together. Built in 1874, the Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church was designed by J. B. Danforth, an amateur architect who also was chief clerk at Richmond’s Mutual Assurance Society. A tracing of Danforth’s drawings by the Richmond carpenter-architect John Gibson, who presumably worked on the building, is in the possession of the church. The design called for a steeple which was deleted from the finished work. The Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church is romantically sited on a hill overlooking the Rapidan River and broad stretches of countryside, and it contributes to the Rapidan Historic District.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

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

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