Sept. 24, 2018: Waddell Memorial Church, Rapidan, Virginia

 

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According to the historical note leaflet at the entrance, this church is the finest example of “Carpenter’s Gothic” church architecture in Virginia.  It is about a 45 minute drive from my home to the little village of Rapidan on the banks of the river of the same name.  The Rapidan River was also considered the northern border of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.  Rapidan is located in Orange County in the central piedmont area of Virginia. 

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A good friend of mine mentioned this historical church to me when I told him I was doing some travel blogs for TravelGumbo.  The church was named for the blind 18th century Presbyterian preacher who was born in Ireland in 1739. Though blind, the locals said he could create a vivid reality of his preaching subjects.  He also conducted a school in his home where he taught Meriwether Lewis (the explorer of Lewis and Clark fame) and James Barbour who would become Governor of Virginia.  Sixty-nine years after his death a new church was built and named for him and his remains were moved to the new graveyard. 

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The new church was designed by architect J.B. Danforth in 1805, constructed in 1874 and a school wing was added on in 1958.  The church has 36 spires and the replace hand latches and door hinges were made by a local blacksmith to match the originals. 

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I took a little stroll and in the graveyard taking a few phots of the headstones.  The Waddell Church is located at 7133 Rapidan Road in Rapidan Virginia.

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George G

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