Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Grace Reformed and Evangelical Church, Rockwell, North Carolina

Last Saturday Historic Salisbury Foundation held a tour of ten historic churches to raise funds for their activities in preserving historic buildings and sites in Rowan County. Two of the churches, Zion (Organ) Lutheran and Grace Reformed (also known as Lower Stone Church) are favorites of mine and I have driven the hour and a half south from Greensboro to take photos of the exteriors on several occasions. This tour would give me the opportunity to finally get inside and take photos of the interiors.

Grace was built in 1795 by German Lutheran immigrants from Pennsylvania who followed their Moravian brethren down the Great Wagon Trail from the Philadelphia area. And if you've ever been to Pennsylvania around the Delaware River, you'll recognize this type of stone building as being typical of that area. However, this is highly unusual for North Carolina as brick and wood were the standard building materials.

Above the door is a stone tablet in German which dates the church to 1795 (the steeple is a much later addition; it was added in 1901) and between the windows on the second floor is another much smaller tablet.

This shows a clock face with the hands pointing to 9:30 and the words (translated from German), "In the Year of Christ 1795 With God's Help."

I was most anxious to get inside and see the interior of the sanctuary. However, to my disappointment, the interior was no different than any other North Carolina country church with the exception of the list of the past pastors listed high on the wall behind the pulpit. According to my little tour booklet, the early interiors were removed in the 1880's and the orientation of the church was changed from south to west.

I took this from the second floor gallery. Pardon the flare from the windows as it was early morning and quite sunny.

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