It turned out to be a good thing that I had left my books and map to tour Rowan County the weekend before last, because this past Saturday the Salisbury Symphony Guild was having a holiday tour of historic places which included a couple of the churches that I wanted to take snapshots of.
The first church we went to was Thyatira Presbyterian Church outside of Salisbury. The church was founded in 1747 and is the oldest Presbyterian Church in North Carolina west of the Yadkin River. At the time that Thyatira was being established, more than a quarter of the population in North Carolina were Scotch-Irish Presbyterian immigrants.
This is the fourth building on this site, built in 1860 to replace a wood-framed meetinghouse. I'm sorry for the cropped picture, but there was a woman sitting right in front of the doors (right in the best place to take a picture) with a card table selling tickets to the tour. We'll go back later on and I'll get a better picture to show the wonderful cruciform windows there at the front of the sanctuary.
Inside a docent was getting ready to give a short speech about the history of the church and its congregation and there were other visitors milling around. He pointed out the gallery surrounding the main floor on three sides and told us that it was the slave gallery as the local plantation owners would bring trusted slaves with them to hear the minister preach on Sunday.
The cables stretched from both the walls and galley areas are to keep the walls from collapsing from the weight of the roof. The docent said that a few years after the 1860 construction of the sanctuary, the minister noticed large cracks in the walls and they added the iron cables to maintain the integrity of the building.