- Oldest continually active church in Christiansburg, Virginia, built 1853
- Outer doors leading to the gallery were a feature originally designed to allow slaves to attend church services
- Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart’s brother-in-law, Nicholas Chevalier, built the church and served as pastor before the Civil War
Christiansburg Presbyterian Church
The Presbyterian Church is the oldest continually active church in Christiansburg, dating to 1853. James E. Crush, along with James and Samuel Hickok, constructed the Greek Revival structure, referring to the design handbooks of influential Boston architect Asher Benjamin. Crush and his carpenters were from Fincastle, Botetourt County, where several similar churches survive. The Christiansburg Presbyterian Church steeple was restored for the first time in 1995. One interesting feature of this antebellum church is the outside entrance to a gallery, built, it is thought, to allow slaves to attend services while remaining separate from the free congregation. There is no way to access the gallery from inside the church. The additions behind and to the right of the church date to 1906 and 1927, respectively.
Next door to the church on the left is the Presbyterian Church Manse. Completed in 1876, this building served as the residence for Christiansburg’s Presbyterian ministers until 1969. It replaced the Pepper House, the original Presbyterian manse. Today the Pepper House is home to the Montgomery Museum, which houses exhibits and archives related to local history. Both the current church and the original manse on Pepper Street owe their existence to Reverend Nicholas Chevalier, pastor from 1839-1856. In 1855, he commissioned Edward Beyer to paint a view of Christiansburg that now resides at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. Reverend Chevalier was also the brother-in-law of Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, having married Stuart’s sister, Bertha.
Finding Christiansburg Presbyterian Church
107-111 West Main Street
Christiansburg, VA 24073
From Blacksburg, take 460 Eastbound to the Downtown Christiansburg exit. Follow North Franklin Street downtown and take a right onto West Main Street. The church is a block and a half down on the right.
For More Information
Roy Wyete Kanode, Christiansburg, Virginia: Small Town America At Its Finest (Kingsport, TN: Inove Graphics, 2005).
Mary Elizabeth, Lindon, ed, Virginia’s Montgomery County (Christiansburg, VA: Montgomery Museum and Lewis Miller Regional Art Center, 2009).