Marshall Presbyterian Church at 125 years
When the railroad first rumbled into Madison County in the late 1800s, it brought commerce, tourism, and evangelism to remote corners of Western North Carolina.
On November 12, 1898, a new congregation was chartered in Marshall as Couper Memorial Presbyterian Church. The founding members quickly made plans to build on a rise overlooking the old Catawba Trail (a.k.a. the Drovers’ Road), the rails, and the French Broad River. Soon their sanctuary stood on the site, and a long record of Christian outreach began.
Early activities in the wider community included establishing Marshall Academy on Hill Street, the first public school in Marshall. The congregation also opened a recreation center on Main Street to provide an activities space for local youth. A free, public library was established in the old Couper Memorial Church in June, 1901.
Evangelism in Madison County included coordinating with other Presbyterian communities at Walnut and Hot Springs, as well as a school, chapel, and hospital at White Rock.
In 1950 the Marshall church’s current brick structure emerged from the metamorphic escarpment at 165 South Main Street, under the new name Marshall Presbyterian Church. Its distinctive front staircases, portico, bell tower, and octagonal spire became landmarks. And its community outreach expanded.
Through the decades, this congregation’s work has evolved to include its current support of Scouting, Neighbors in Need, addiction recovery groups, Quaker Circle, artistic and cultural initiatives, and other services. Its annual Community-wide Christmas Eve Service inspires locals and seasonal visitors alike.
Marshall Presbyterian’s mission statement echoes its sense of calling: “Broadly, deeply, joyfully sharing the good news of Christ with Marshall and Madison County for 125 years.”
On Sunday, November 12, 2023, Marshall Presbyterian Church celebrates its 125th anniversary, with a special worship service at 11 a.m., and covered-dish fellowship to follow.