Elkton Historical Society
Meeting House pre-dated Churches
by Casey Billhimer
In the early 1800’s the eastern half of the present day Elkton was known as the Elk Run community, taking it’s name from the creek that flowed from Blue Ridge Mountains through the community, into Elkton and eventually into the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.
Residents of Elk Run and the surrounding area held a meeting September 8, 1821, for the purpose of finding a suitable location for a meeting house, a school house and a burial ground. The sight selected –where Elk run now exists-was along the main road from Swift Run Gap to Elkton, a combination of what is now Tanyard Bridge Rd. and Spotswood Avenue.
On March 21, 1822 the 30 X 60 foot meeting house, constructed of hand hewn timbers, was completed by Henry Monger Jr. at a cost of $160.00. The building which contained a center divider to separate the men’s and women’s sides , had two entry doors in front-one for the women’s side and one for the men’s (evident in the turn –of- the- century photographs, which shows the building after clap board siding had been installed. A balcony was built in the rear of the facility, then known as Elk Run Liberty Meeting House.
Initially, the building was used mainly by the Methodist as a church, but other denominations used the building. Eventually, other Protestant congregations built their own churches, and when the United Brethren built its church in 1910, the meeting house was dismantled.
During the dismantling of the meeting house an inscription was found on one of the door facings which read “Davis B. Ingrain born Feb. 12, 1825. At Elkton Run Church Dec. 1865 guarding prisoners.
During the Civil War, the building was used several times to house prisoners. Confederate troops under Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Thomas Ewell had camp.
Much of the materials from the dismantled structure were used to erect a home for the cemetery’s caretaker on the northeast corner of the intersection of Newtown Road and East Spotswood Avenue. The building stood until it was razed to make room for the widening of Newtown Road.
Just to the northeast of where the meeting house originally stood, a school house, known as Elk run Academy, was built shortly after the meeting house. In 1912, it too was razed, and some of the old building materials were used in construction of the Elkton Restaurant in 1913 at the corner of Terrace Avenue and Spotswood Trail, but that’s another story.