Located in a sparsely populated area of Patrick County, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mayberry Presbyterian Church is perhaps the most modest of the six rock churches, and is the only Childress church without a cemetery. The frame church was erected in 1925, with Bob Childress serving as pastor while still a student at Union Theological Seminary, and the quartzite & quartz fieldstone veneer was added by the congregation in 1948.
~ Michael Pulice, DHR architectural historian, Western Region Preservation Office.
Mayberry Presbyterian Church
1127 Mayberry Church Road
Meadows of Dan, Virginia 24120
The small mountain community of Mayberry in Patrick County, Virginia, began as a farming village in the early 1800s. Centered around Bear Wallow, a frontier fort built in 1752 to protect settlers from Indian attacks, the community grew to include a mill, a post office, a school, and the general store. Today, only the Mayberry Trading Post and the Mayberry Presbyterian Church remain clustered around Mayberry Creek.
In the 1920s, a Sunday School was organized and met in the Mayberry School, across the road from the present church. Revered Roy Smith drove a horse and buggy to hold services in the school and in several other locations in Patrick County. In 1924, a revival was led by then-seminary student Robert Childress. Reverend Childress and those attending decided that a church should be built, stating, “Every good community needs a good church building, and I believe Mayberry is as good as any community in Patrick County.”
Mr. Ceph Scott donated one-half acre across the road from Mayberry School and in April, 1925, people in the community began building Mayberry Presbyterian Church. This white frame structure included a steeple and lovely arched windows. In 1948 the church was covered with fieldstones by the men, women, and children of the congregation and community. The entire internal structure was removed and rebuilt in 1974 due to a termite infestation, leaving the initial rock facing intact. The original pews, purchased from a Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, remain in the church today.
Mayberry Church was affiliated with Montgomery Presbytery, and, as was the custom, all people in the community attended regardless of denomination. By 1930 there were 68 members of the church, but in the last years of the Great Depression and World War II, membership declined to 22. The church was dissolved and became Mayberry Chapel, served by the pastor of Slate Mountain Presbyterian Church. The church was reorganized in 1974 and became Mayberry Presbyterian Church in the Highland Presbytery. Today, we are associated with the Presbytery of the Peaks, Presbyterian Church (USA).
Mayberry Presbyterian Church is one of the six historic rock churches founded by Reverend Robert Childress and is the first to be served by Reverend Childress from 1924 to 1956. In addition to Mayberry, the other rock churches are Buffalo Mountain, Slate Mountain, Bluemont, Dinwiddie, and Willis. All six churches are listed as Virginia Historic Landmarks and were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. All but Willis remain Presbyterian Churches.
~ Mayberry Presbyterian Church website