The Church at the Old Oak is opening its doors on March 13 & 14 and March 20 & 21 in celebration of Highland County’s maple season! Vendors, such as Route 640 Treasures, Mary Stephenson, The Stitch Witch, Little Barn Quilts, Beadwitched, and Bruce’s Syrup and Candies, will be set-up and represented among the goodies. Hours: Saturdays: 9-5 and Sundays: 9-4. GPS Address: 3898 Meadowdale Rd., Monterey, VA 24465. For more information, call (540) 468-2440 or email email@example.com
Old Dog, New Tricks: The Church at the Old Oak offers Meeting, Event Space
Originally published: October 29, 2020
If there’s one thing people in Highland County know how to do … it’s how to re-invent and repurpose existing items. In general, we don’t let go of anything until we have used it up, transformed it, and used it up again. In fact, we pretty much have it down to an art.
In this case, we thank our lucky stars that Jim and Debbi Stephenson are gifted in such enterprises. The entire county and, most especially, the Meadowdale community has already benefited from their project to transform the former Pisgah Presbyterian Church into a new event space … now known as The Church at the Old Oak.
Without their interest, this precious little landmark may have fallen into ruin.
Pisgah Presbyterian Church was founded in 1831 when members of the Stephenson family donated a small tract of land for a church building to be constructed.
From its founding until the church closed in 2016, the little, one-room building existed as a model Presbyterian charge. The building remained very plain with a small vestibule and balcony and a chapel simply lined with pews and a pulpit.
During the renovation project, several building elements were removed to optimize the space in the old chapel. However, there was one incredibly important element that was added.
Debbi Stephenson elaborates, “The first and most important addition was a bathroom! We also moved the front wall to make a center door, ripped up that nasty 1970’s carpet revealing beautiful wood floors which were refinished, took out the pews, added a new heating and air conditioning system, insulation, new windows, and acoustic panels.”
Many events have already taken place at The Church at the Old Oak including weddings, family reunion, social gatherings, dinners, and meetings.
“The first event was in April 2018, my sister’s wedding to her high school sweetheart,” Debbi explains. “We have had one other wedding and several family reunion type gatherings (Hull, Jones, and Hevener). The Highland Historical Society Patrons party was held there last summer, where we received the Preservation Award. There have been a couple of dinners, some meetings, and The Sons of the Confederate Veterans picnic this and last summer. Vendors were set up here for Maple Festival 2019 and would have been in 2020, too.”
Upcoming events include a concert series from the Highland County Arts Council, the first event being November 14, 2020.
The Church at the Old Oak is located on Meadowdale Road (Route 640) in Highland County. When you turn onto Meadowdale Road from Mill Gap Road (Route 84), which connects to Route 220 South near Vanderpool, it is the fourth driveway on the left.
About the Author
Crysta Stephenson grew up in the Meadowdale and Vanderpool areas of Highland County. She loved it so much that she returned to raise her daughters on the family farm, Glenwood. She received a B.A. in mass communications with a minor in history from Mary Baldwin College. For 13 years, she honed her journalism skills as a staff writer and editor at two small Virginia newspapers. Her second career - also lasting 13 years - focused on managing two small historical museums here in Virginia. These days, she juggles lots of odd jobs including writing and museum assignments that give her time to enjoy life and admire the accomplishments of her daughters, Rebecca and Suzanna, and play with her grandmutts, Alex and Snoopy. She splits her time between her family home in Highland and her apartment in Augusta County.