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Laurel Valley Community Church

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1945. Laurel Valley Rd., 1.5 miles east of VA 600

Located at the foot of Whitetop Mountain in a lush valley in southern Smyth County, this country church sits in a clearing among the laurel and rhododendron thickets along Laurel Valley Road. The small church was the inspiration of the Reverend H. E. Poff, a Lutheran minister, who envisioned a church built of local materials. It is composed of round spruce logs donated by the U.S. Forest Service from the slopes of Whitetop Mountain. Poff persuaded members of his congregation to volunteer to help him construct the church. Boys and young men on furlough from the army at the end of World War II dressed and laid the logs and erected a stone chimney at the rear, while women and children helped saw logs into shingles for the steep gable roof. A gabled hood sheltering a pair of board-and-batten front doors flanked by log balustrades adds to the rustic character of the composition. The interior contains pews, an altar, and candlesticks—all made of wood. To the rear is a two-unit log privy with a small cupola for ventilation. Beside the church is a good example of an early-twentieth-century one-story frame and weatherboard schoolhouse with large sash windows and bracketed eaves.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Laurel Valley Community Church", [Troutdale, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 463-463.

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