Halifax County is rich in historic homes. In accordance with the Society Mission Statement to preserve historical information for dissemination to the public, the Society may assist homeowners through the arduous process of documenting and helping to obtain the national recognition deserved of these homes.
Currently there are twenty-seven county properties that have been listed on either or both the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places as well as five groups of homes and public buildings designated as “Historic Districts” in Virginia.
For additional information on the houses, please see An Architectural History of Halifax County, Virginia, published by the Halifax County Historical Society.
One home will be added periodically and will include a detailed description and photographs of the exterior and interior, if available.
Old Providence Presbyterian Church
Coles Ferry Road, Providence area
Halifax County’s first Presbyterian congregation was organized in 1830 as an offshoot of the Cub Creek congregation in Charlotte County, Virginia. The difficulty of crossing the Staunton River to attend services and the growing interest in Presbyterianism led to a movement to create a church in Halifax County. Originally named Halifax Church, members met at the county courthouse before erecting this simple frame meetinghouse at the crossroads village of Providence in the 1830s. Sixteen of the original twenty-six members were blacks from local plantations. Visiting ministers preached occasionally until 1831, when Reverend Thomas A. Ogden was named its first pastor. In the early1840s, this meetinghouse was renamed Providence Church when another Presbyterian congregation formed at the Halifax County seat. In 1929, after almost one hundred years of service, a larger church was built next door.
The original building stands virtually unaltered from the time of its construction. The plain weatherboard, one-story, one-room church with a steep gable roof is devoid of ornamentation. The gable-front entrance has an unadorned door, and there is no belltower or steeple to indicate its religious purpose. One side has three equally spaced nine-over-nine-pane double-sash windows, while the opposite side has only two. This discrepancy was probably due to a former stovepipe that ran along the south wall.
The interior features unique wall cladding of variable-width planks applied horizontally rather than vertically. The ceiling is open almost to the ridge and is spanned by three heavy chamfered beams.
Walter E. and Ruby Irby Blanks acquired the former church building in 1947, and in 1982, their children restored it in honor of their parents, who had been married here. A reconstructed cinder-block foundation was faced with brick from the original foundation. The old brick was also used to replace the large stone steps leading to the entrance. A metal roof covers the wooden shingles, and random-width pine boards have replaced the original flooring. Window sashes and shutters were replicated from original surviving ones. The lectern on a raised platform was rebuilt using salvaged wood. Furnishings of the period, along with one original pew, accurately reflect the simplicity of a historic church. The building is a testament to rural congregations’ focus on worship rather than ornamentation. The building is listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and in the National Register of Historic Places.