Woodstock Presbtyerian Church

In 1822 the Rev. William H. Foote, a Presbyterian, began preaching in Shenandoah County. He noted that when he arrived there were three members of that denomination in the county, one in Woodstock and two in Strasburg.

That number would grow dramatically over the next few years. In 1824 a Union Church was built to serve the Presbyterian congregations in Strasburg and Woodstock. Where this was is unrecorded, but we do know that it had 31 members, 15 of those being Woodstock residents. Two years later there were a sufficient number of Presbyterians in both towns, and sufficient complaints from members about the need to travel to attend worship, to form independent churches.

The Woodstock congregation soon began work on a new church building. Completed in 1833, this structure was located at the corner of Court Street and Church Street in Woodstock, the same site as the present church. The land had been purchased from the Episcopal Church who needed money to renovate the town’s cemetery. This building burned during the Civil War.

A new church would be built on the same site in 1869. Eleven years later they acquired the neighboring Woodstock Academy building which, until then, had been a private, classical academy, designed to educate the town’s youth. It had closed in the late 19th century when public schools, started in 1872, made the private model obsolete. The building would be demolished in 1903 when the Sydney P. Laughlin Memorial Chapel was built on the site. This structure served as the church’s educational building and housed their ministry program which targeted the cadets at Massanutten Military Academy.

In 1962 the church constructed a new connecting wing between the chapel, which they remodeled, and the church building. This was designed to provide enhanced educational classrooms and a community room. Their congregation had expanded to the point where the original structures were no long satisfactory.

That structure served until 2013, when it was demolished because of structural deficiencies caused by poor construction and maintenance. This new wing drastically expanded the space available to the church, and altered the historic footprint of the church and chapel.