The original Church building was built and first occupied in 1894, and houses the Sanctuary, Library/Parlor, Choir room, and several classrooms. The newer Education Building was completed in 1963 and houses the Fellowship Hall and additional classrooms. Church offices are located in the house next door to the Church.
The Presbyterian Church of Radford had its beginning in the New River Church, organized at Lovely Mount Church on April 26, 1874. For seven years, the church was without a regular pastor, and the pulpit was occupied by supplies and licenciates. The main preaching point was Lovely Mount, better known as the Brick Church. Later a frame building near Ingles Ferry, called Ingles Chapel, served as the church. In 1881, the New River Church was able to have a full time pastor. It was during this time that Central City became incorporated as a town, and in 1887, officially changed its name to Radford. During this time, the population of Radford “boomed” and grew from 300 in 1880 to 3,000 by 1890.
During the period from 1890-1894, the name of the church was changed from the New River Church to Radford Presbyterian Church. By 1894, members occupied their new brick church building at Fourth and Randolph Streets, which was constructed at a cost of about $7,000 and was free of debt. The building was dedicated in 1899. From 1894 to 1919, Central and Radford churches shared equally the services and financial responsibility of the same pastor.
In 1919, the two churches separated from each other completely. In 1908, the manse was built across Fourth Street. The church library was begun in 1960 and the Christian Education Building wing was completed in 1963. Radford Presbyterian Church merged with Tyler Memorial Presbyterian Church in 1968 to form the Presbyterian Church of Radford. The remodeling of the front of the church was completed in 2019.
Stained Glass Windows
The Helping Hand Society was formed in 1889 for the purpose of furnishing the Presbyterian Church. In 1893, the name was changed to the Ladies Aid Society of the Westward Presbyterian Church. By 1894, the Society had raised sufficient funds to pay for the original pulpit and pews, and planning began on the stained glass windows.
In 1894, the President of the Society wrote to William Coulter & Son of Cincinnati, OH, to obtain estimates for the stained glass windows. For a history of William Coulter & Son, which exists today as Beauverre Riordan Stained Glass Studios, please see https://www.beauverre.net/history. Financial support of the windows proceeded in 1894-1895, with the total cost of the windows being $650.
The Ladies Aid Society of the Westward Presbyterian Church funded most of the cost of the windows and held “entertainments” to raise funds. “Entertainments” included oyster suppers, strawberry and ice cream festivals, lunches for various meetings, lawn parties, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day festivals. Members of the Society spent many hours making quilts, rugs, aprons, dolls, cakes, bread, and candies. Candy was made in 20 to 30 bound batches and sold in downtown stores. Oysters were packed in ice and shipped by rail overnight from Norfolk for the oyster suppers.
The 1963 addition to the church included the installation of the windows in the Chapel area, which came from a firm in North Carolina. These are painted glass, not stained glass. In 1982, the windows were covered with lexan for protection. Insurance values cited the stain glass windows as irreplaceable.
The connection between Tyler Memorial Church and the Presbyterian Church of Radford
Central Presbyterian Church, which was the first Church of Presbyterian denomination in Radford, was founded in 1870 and was located near the site of the old main post-office on Main Street. In 1890, New River Presbyterian Church moved into the new city of Radford, and the church changed its name to Radford Presbyterian Church.
In 1894, the Montgomery Presbytery organized a new church in East Radford named Radford Central Presbyterian Church. One of its members was James Hoge Tyler. Mr. Tyler was largely instrumental in the establishment of the church, including the plans and erection of the building. Besides being an outstanding layman in his own denomination, Mr. Tyler was held in high esteem by all who knew him. As a result, the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia elected him Governor, an office in which he served from 1898-1902. In honor of Ex-Governor James Hoge Tyler, who for 31 years was an elder in the church, the church name was changed from Radford Central to Tyler Memorial on September 2, 1934.
Tyler Memorial Church, located on the campus of Radford University, was an active Presbyterian Church until 1968 when it merged with Radford Presbyterian Church. This merger led to the current name “The Presbyterian Church of Radford”, located at 201 Fourth St. Radford University continued to expand around the church, so it made sense when the college made an offer to purchase the building, the offer was accepted. The college kept the church until 1970 then discontinued regular services. For almost 20 years, it was used by Catholics, Episcopalians, and Lutherans for student services.
In the summer of 1988, the building was renovated and the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy moved into the now Fairfax Hall. In 2004, the building was razed, and the deed noted that the light fixtures, stained glass windows, and bell be returned to PCR. Thanks to the efforts of Maureen Thomas and her family, along with David Ferrell, the large stained glass windows have been gifted to the Glencoe Museum in Radford, The Wilderness Road Museum in Newbern, and to the Tyler/Hoge family. Four pieces of the stained glass windows, which are memorial windows of Edward Tyler and James Tyler, children of Governor and Mrs. Tyler, have been placed in our sanctuary. PCR also was gifted by the artist Ruth Lefko with her 1987 watercolor of Tyler Memorial Church.