McDowell Presbyterian Church To Get Highway Historical Marker

According to a press release from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, sixteen proposed historical highway markers have recently been approved and one is in Highland County.

McDowell Presbyterian Church will be recognized with a historical marker.  Its congregation, first organized in 1822, constructed the current brick sanctuary around 1856. During the Battle of McDowell, on May 8, 1862, the church served as a hospital, and Union and Confederate dead reportedly were buried in the church cemetery.

It can take upwards of three months or more before a new marker is ready for installation.  McDowell Presbyterian Church, the marker’s sponsor, will cover the required $1,770 manufacturing expenses for the sign.

The proposed location of the marker is behind the church along Bullpasture River Road near the intersection with Highland Turnpike.

The historical highway marker for McDowell Presbyterian Church will read as follows:

This congregation, first known as Central Union Church, was organized in 1822. The present brick sanctuary, an interpretation of the Greek Revival style, replaced an earlier structure ca. 1856. The entrance on the building’s south side was likely for the use of free and enslaved African Americans, who worshiped from the balcony. During the Battle of McDowell on 8 May 1862, the church served as a hospital. Union and Confederate dead were reportedly buried in the congregation’s cemetery across present-day Route 250. The church is listed on the American Presbyterian and Reformed Historic Sites Registry, the Virginia Landmarks Register, and the National Register of Historic Places.


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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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