Old Stone Church

Catoosa County
Org 1837
Photography by Tom Reed

The Old Stone Church was originally organized in 1837 as the Chickamauga Presbyterian Church. The organizational minutes state “We, whose names are here unto subscribed, being members of the Presbyterian Church, but having removed from our respective churches and settled in this vicinity where there is no organized church, desiring to enjoy the means of grace and the ordinances of the gospel as administered according to the Presbyterian form, do agree to associate ourselves together for the purpose of being regularly organized into a Presbyterian Church according to the principles and form laid down in the confession of faith”. The first meetings were held in a log schoolhouse approximately one quarter of a mile south, and later in a small frame house north of the present structure. Construction of the present structure began in the summer of 1850. Stone was hauled by charter church member Robert Magill and his two brothers from a nearby quarry at White Oak Mountain. The building was completed in 1852 at a cost of $1600, part of which was donated by the Rev. W.H. Johnston, who gave one year’s salary…..$200.

Catoosa County was created out of Walker County in 1853, and the Old Stone Church may be the first church that was organized in Walker when it was opened for settlement after the Cherokee Indian removal in 1838. During the Civil War, there was conflict in the area as the Federals advanced from Chattanooga toward Atlanta. After fighting at Ringold, the Federal Brigadier General, Judson Kilpatrick, reported on May 2, 1864, that he “met the Confederates one mile from Stone Church that morning and drove them to Tunnel Hill”. During the Battle of Ringgold Gap, Federal General Joseph Hooker fought Confederates under the command of General Patrick Cleburne just north of the church. The retreating Confederates used the church as a hospital and later, the occupying Federals used the church as a stable. The still visible, blood stained floors in the church attest to the use of the church as a hospital.

After the war, the structure remained as a Presbyterian Church and in 1912, the name was changed from Chickamauga Presbyterian to Stone Church due to a naming conflict with another church. The Presbyterians ceased to use the building in 1921, and it was then purchased by the Methodists. The building changed ownership several times and is now owned by the Catoosa County Historical Society which uses it as their headquarters as well as a museum. The building is architecturally significant in that it is made of native sandstone from a local quarry. We think the pre Civil War sandstone sanctuary is probably the only one in the state. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and there have been few changes to the historical integrity of the church. The interior of the church is a step back in time to the 1850’s. The pews and the alter are original…….a great piece of North Georgia history. Enjoy.

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