The Sanctuary (circa 2002)
The Brass Cross created by
the late Barney Bright,
well-known Louisville sculptor.
A communion token
coined for our 1999
Anchorage Presbyterian Church was organized on October 1, 1799 by the Presbytery of Transylvania which was part of the Synod of Virginia. At that time the Presbytery included all of Kentucky, all of the Cumberland River basin in Tennessee, and the Territory of Ohio south of the Scioto River. Our congregation is the oldest Presbyterian Church in Jefferson County, and one of the oldest churches of any denomination.
The church was originally located in Middletown, and was called the Middletown Presbyterian Church. In 1860 the Rev. W. W. Hill, the pastor of the church, built a home in Anchorage and started a school for girls which was called Bellewood Female Seminary. A small chapel on the campus served the school's needs and also as an ecumenical chapel for the small community. We think that the present office and library are this chapel.
By 1869 the major part of the constituency of the Middletown Presbyterian Church lived in Anchorage, and the present sanctuary was built to serve both the congregation and the students of Bellewood Seminary. The sanctuary was built at a cost of $12,000 - paid in cash -and the total membership of the church at the time was less than 60.
The membership of the church did not rise above 100 until the 1920s. Usually the pastor of the church also served as pastor of the Bellewood Seminary. In 1929 Edgar Houghton - who had just graduated from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary - became the pastor. It was the only pastorate he ever held. Under his leadership the church grew, an addition was made to the education building, and the church's program of worship and outreach was greatly enlarged. Dr. Houghton retired in 1964 and lived in Danville, Kentucky until his death in the mid 1980s.
Since 1799 well over 3,000 persons have been members of this church. Hundreds more - students at Bellewood Seminary, residents of the Bellewood Presbyterian Home for Children, and others - have been influenced by the church's ministry. Hundreds have pledged their lives together in marriage. Hundreds of others have been remembered in their deaths. Babies have been baptized, young people have grown in faith and discipleship, the gospel has been preached, God's praises have been sung, thousands have tried to walk in the path of Jesus Christ and many have succeeded to some extent.
This church stands as a witness to the grace and the glory of God, and as a testimony of the faith of a small portion of God's people.