NoD: Versailles Presbyterian Church

Versailles Presbyterian Church - Versailles, Ky.
Interior of the Versailles (Ky.) Presbyterian Church

On Versailles' Main Street, the red bricks of the Gothic revival-style Presbyterian Church surround beautiful stain glass windows. Its stately belltower lies on the north end of the church's gabled roof.

Inside, the square sanctuary features a beautiful pipe organ and two-and-one-half aisles (the third being central to the church, but only extending midway from the rear).

Versailles Presbyterian Church - Versailles, Ky.
Versailles (Ky.) Presbyterian Church
The church's origins are unclear, but the first Presbyterian pastor in the county was Reverend Adam Rankin who was called to the Glenn's Creek Church, part of the Transylvania Presbytery, in 1786. In 1788, Woodford County was created from Virginia's Fayette County. Fortunately, for this early church, Glenn's Creek was not situated within Versailles as Virginia statute forbade a church from being situated within the limits of a county seat. These rules soon became moot, however, as Kentucky achieved statehood in 1792.

By 1794, not only was a Presbyterian Church operating in the county seat of Versailles -- but it was holding services in the courthouse itself! Rev. John Poage Campbell, considered to be the first minister of Versailles Presbyterian Church, preached throughout the circuit and had certainly served in Versailles by the year 1811 when he also acted as chaplain of the state legislature.

The church, erected in 1854, preceded the existing structure on which ground was broken in 1877 with dedication Sunday following on July 28, 1878 by Reverend Gelon H. Rout. Once dedicated, the sanctuary was the largest room in the county and was utilized for a number of civic and community events.

The organ was from the Henry Pilcher & Sons Company of Louisville. Actually, the company originated in St. Louis in 1852, but located to Chicago during the Civil War. Surviving both the war and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the company returned south to Louisville in 1874. The organ, built in Louisville, was taken by train to Midway and from there to Versailles on horse cart. The walnut organ crates were even used in the construction of the church's fa├žade!

More pictures are available by clicking here.

"Henry Pilcher's Sons Organ Company"
"Historical Sketches of Kentucky," p. 135.
"John Poage Campbell"
Versailles Presbyterian Church, "Our History"