1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 

 

The Unlocked Door
John McCurdy

In Lexington, Virginia on the corner where US Route 11 and US Route 60 cross, right in the center of the this small college town, the home of V.M.I. and Washington and Lee University, sets the Presbyterian Church.  The spire on itís steeple rising over 100 feet above the rooftops. In 2006 it suffered a disastrous fire that very nearly consumed the entire structure and its one hundred plus years of service to the community. To the everlasting glory of the members of the congregation a few days after the fire they voted to rebuild the church as it was.  A task that ended up costing over three million dollars, but considering the memories that it held, a mere pittance!

In the terrible days of the War Between the States and afterward and in the years of the first World War it stood like a rock offering succor to all who entered. General Lee regularly attended while the President of W&L, General T. J. Jackson taught in the Sunday School when he taught at V.M.I.

In the years of my youth, the early 40ís, the traffic on Routes 11 & 60 was drastically reduced by gas and tire rationing. Only absolutely necessary traffic was  on the roads and that traffic was almost exclusively during the daytime hours. At the same time the number of persons hitch-hiking had increased drastically,  GIís on leave and going and coming from their homes were a constant sight on the roadways of the countryside. With little money and little time they seemed to be passing through Lexington constantly. They all passed by the Presbyterian Church.

Some members of the congregation began to fret about them, and since there was a room on street level, with a doorway and a  window opening on Route 60 and since there was a toilet opening into the room, the church began leaving the light over the doorway burning all night long, and they left the door unlocked and a welcome sign on the door. Hundreds and hundreds of tired and lonely men found a warm shelter in that small room over the next few years. Occasionally the janitor would find a little untidiness in the morning but in the years the room was open not a single time was the hospitality of that dear church ever violated. The door is still unlocked.

 

For A. H. S. Ever Always - In Every Way For A. H. S.