HOLY CROSS CHURCH HISTORY
The history of the Episcopal Church is woven through the modern history of the Valle Crucis Community. In 1842, The Right Reverend Levi Ives, Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina, gazing down from a ridge, observed that the streams and valleys formed the shape of a Saint Andrew's Cross and named the area Valle Crucis, or Valle of the Cross.
Over the next several years, Bishop Ives established the Society of the Holy Cross, the first monastic order in the Anglican Communion since the English Reformation of the mid-16th century. The Bishop Ives Cabin, last of the original buildings, now serves as the church library.
William West Skiles, who originally came to Holy Cross to supervise its farming operation, joined the monastic order; and in 1847, was ordained Deacon. Brother Skiles kept the Episcopal flame alive from 1852, when the Monastic Order was disbanded, until his death in 1862. Brother Skiles' inspiration led to the construction of Saint John's Church, where he was buried. St. John's Church still stands three miles from Holy Cross Church and is used by our parish during the summer and for special services.
In 1895, Bishop Joseph Blount Cheshire came to Valle Crucis to revive the Episcopal Ministry here. Under his direction, several of the buildings which are still in use were constructed. In 1898, Bishop Junius Horner was installed as Bishop of the newly established Missionary District of Asheville. Bishop Horner began a renaissance in Valle Crucis. He started a dairy and chicken farm, sawmill and wagon factory, apple orchard, hydroelectric power plant, and a school for grades 1-12. A portrait of Bishop Horner hangs in Skiles Hall, next to the Church.
In 1925, during Bishop Horner's renaissance, the present day Holy Cross Church was built. The congregation of Holy Cross has grown and now serves a wide area of Watauga and Avery Counties. In 1982, Holy Cross was admitted as a full parish in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.
© 2004 Valle Country Fair Committee