A Church in the Making
Among the first settlers in the vicinity of Hickory Tavern in the mid-nineteenth century were Adolphus L. Shuford and Henry W. Link, loyal members of the German Reformed Church. In 1860, these men sought the services of Dr. Jeremiah Ingold, pastor of the Grace Charge, to begin Reformed worship services in their town.
During the warm months, Dr. Ingold led services in an outdoor shelter called a brush arbor. In the winter, he preached in the home of Henry Link (the site of the 1859 Cafe, until it closed in 2011). In 1868, Dr. Ingold established Hickory’s first school, the Free Academy. The Academy also became host to Reformed worship services that year, because the outdoor stand burned. The Academy also hosted worship services by many other denominations, as well as entertainment shows.
Corinth in 1869
On May 22, 1869, twenty-two charter members founded Corinth Reformed Church. Later they built a church structure in what is now Robinson Park, which served as their home from 1874 to 1887. The land was noted by Mr. Robinson; however, a call went out for the donation of funds to build the $500 church planned.
Corinth in 1887
A brick church at the corner of the present Second Street and Trade Avenue NW was Corinth’s meeting place from 1887 to 1910. It was Hickory’s first brick church, and was the first place of worship in Hickory to install a pipe organ, which was purchased from the Church of the Good Shepherd for $200.
Corinth in 1910
By 1905, the “Little Brick Church” was too small. In October 1909, under the leadership of Rev. Joseph L. Murphy, the growing congregation laid the cornerstone of a spacious, beautiful sanctuary in downtown Hickory. This site at 2nd Street and 1st Avenue NW (where BB&T is now located) would be Corinth’s home for half a century.
Corinth in 1959
As the post-war generation expanded the church with young families, it became apparent that an educational wing would need to be added, or the church would once again need to relocate. Shuford Mills donated 10 acres of land on 16th Avenue NW, which was literally north of Hickory in the woods. This is where Corinth’s current Gothic sanctuary was built and dedicated on Sunday, September 6, 1959. The 50th Anniversary of the church building was held on August 30, 2009. The anniversary booklet includes detailed descriptions of the gothic building and is available at the church office.
Corinth in 2008
In response to a growing number of students (6-12th grade) in the congregation, the Abernethy Student Center was built behind the education building and Sanctuary in 2008. That building currently houses junior and senior high Sunday school classes, Wednesday night youth CREW, and Big City Studio worship.
Corinth in 2013
The first contemporary worship at Corinth was held on a Sunday evening in 2001. In September 2003 the Contemporary worship was moved to 11:00 AM on Sunday mornings, the same time as the traditional service. As the contemporary worship service grew, it became obvious that the original fellowship hall was no longer sufficient. In January 2013, Bost Memorial Hall was opened as a new multi-purpose facility for contemporary worship, Wednesday night dinners, and other special events.
In December 2013, Corinth acquired an adjacent residential property, which was thoroughly renovated to become new adult education spaces. The West Campus includes the Mitchell House (classrooms and meeting rooms), the POTS House (large class or meeting room), the Mitchell House Extension (two smaller classrooms) and the Minnie & BB Lane Mission House (guest house).
Corinth’s Legacy Continues…
Today, Corinth is a vibrant and growing church. After celebrating our 150th anniversary (May 22, 2019), we are actively reflecting on how God has used Corinth over the past 150 years, and how God might use us in the next 150. We are celebrating our many blessings, and making strategic plans that we pray will help us to stay strong, healthy, and relevant in the coming years.
Click here to watch our history video of our first 150 years.
For more information…
To learn more about the heritage of Corinth, including our connection to the SALT Block and how we came to have “Boy Scout Troop 1,” contact us and ask for a copy of the 125th Anniversary Booklet.
The church office also has copies of a 2009 booklet (“Remembering…”) from the 50th anniversary celebration of our current Gothic building. It has many more details about the construction and maintenance our current home.