Strasburg Presbyterian Church
When the first meeting was held at the Winchester Presbytery, the name given to the body representing Presbyterian Churches in a certain district, there were two Presbyterian Churches in Shenandoah County. The records of that meeting, held on December 4, 1794, indicate one congregation existed in Woodstock and another at Powell’s Fort which is in the northern end of Fort Valley.
Though Strasburg’s Presbyterians do not appear in the official records until 1822 when the first regular minister was appointed to that church and the one in Woodstock, we do know traveling ministers visited the town starting in the late 18th century. This record indicates that by that time the Powell’s Fort Church had been replaced by this new congregation in the rapidly growing town.
This group met in homes of members and churches of other denominations until 1824 when a Presbyterian Union Church was formed for the entire county. It was shared by the Presbyterian in Woodstock and Strasburg but was classified as one congregation.
The Strasburg portion of this congregation was formed that same year in the home of Anthony Spengler. That building still stands on the western part of town near the Strasburg Mill.
In 1826 the Union Presbyterian Church was divided because bad roads prevented them from meeting on a regular basis. Four years later Strasburg Presbyterian Congregation completed its first church building. It featured a large porch, a long entry staircase, and separate doors for male and female worshipers.
During the Civil War, the church was used as a hospital. Thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers were treated by teams of doctors in and around Strasburg during the conflict. Like in most towns, every large building had to be pressed into service to meet the needs of these individuals. Since the churches were usually the largest public buildings in a community, almost every single one was used for some purpose.
A large addition was constructed in 1926 to house a Sunday School room, social hall, and kitchen. This was one of several church related construction projects that occurred at the time and that reflects on the growing economic prosperity of the county during the period.
Throughout the depression years and during the beginning of World War Two, the church would continue to pay for this addition. Finally, the debt was retired in 1942 to the great relief of parishioners.
Women’s groups have played an important role in the church since 1850. The first group they formed was called the Ladies Sewing Society. It reflects a growing desire for women at the time to play a role in their community, and the ways in which society allowed them to do so. In 1898 they became the Ladies Aid Society. This was another popular movement that saw groups formed in almost every county church to provide relief to missionaries, soldiers, and the destitute.