Nacoochee Presbyterian Church was founded in 1870 by Captain James H. Nichols, who moved his family from Milledgeville after the Civil War and settled in the Nacoochee Valley. The families of newly emancipated slaves who remained in the area were among the worshippers in the new church. In 1903, the congregation moved from its original church building, which is now Crescent Hill Baptist Church, and began meeting in the Nacoochee Institute. This was a period of remarkable growth for Nacoochee Presbyterian.
A FIRE BRINGS CHANGE
In 1926, the congregation lost its meeting place when fire destroyed the Nacoochee Institute, forcing the school’s consolidation with Rabun Gap in 1928. In the months after the fire, the congregation worshiped in an open-sided shed, then moved to a newly renovated dairy barn for the winter of 1927. With much celebration, the present church building was built and dedicated later that year. Though located in the Sautee community, the church kept the Nacoochee name in recognition of its founding site a few miles away.
MODIFICATIONS THROUGH THE YEARS
Passing decades saw changes made to the white frame structure. An A-frame roof replaced the original flat design. In 1989, the bell tower was constructed. Today, church ushers still go to the narthex and pull the thick rope that rings the bell, calling members and friends to Sunday services. In 1993, the fellowship hall and kitchen were enlarged. Classrooms, the Session room and pastor’s study were added. A Memory Garden behind the church is the site of Easter Sunrise Services, and plaques commemorate the deceased NPC members whose ashes have been scattered during memorial services here.
A GOODLY PORTION OF GOD’S BEAUTY
The distinctive Palladian stained glass window over the entrance to the church was created by member Gloria Brown, a noted architect, designer, and mapmaker who died of cancer in 2006. Gloria chose the bright blue paint for the front doors to complement the colors she used in the window.