Cane Ridge Meeting House

Phone: 859/987-5350
Email: curator@caneridge.org

Hours of Operation: April 1-October 31:

  • 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday
  • 1:00 pm-5:00 pm on Sundays

Following the advice of pioneer explorer and guide Daniel Boone, a group of Scots-Irish Presbyterians from North Carolina settled in the area in 1790. In 1791, while building homes and establishing livelihoods, they cut and hewed blue ash logs for the Meeting House's walls and oak and chestnut trees for beams and roof supports. The building stands two stories tall, covering 50 by 30 feet. It is believed to be the largest one-room log structure standing in North America.

A young Presbyterian minister, Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844), arrived on the western frontier to pastor at Cane Ridge in 1796. By the end of the century, Presbyterians in Kentucky, southern Ohio, and northern Tennessee traveled to each other's sacramental communion services which typically began on Friday or Saturday and continued through Monday. Joining them in increasing numbers after a meeting at Red River in Logan County in June 1801 were Methodists and Baptists as well as the unchurched.

The Revival of August 1801 at Cane Ridge was the climactic event of the Western Great Revival. It was estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 persons of all ages, cultures and economic levels traveled on foot and on horseback, many bringing wagons with tents and camping provisions. Because of the numbers of people attending and the length of the meeting, Cane Ridge has become the metaphor of the Great Revival. Worship continued well into the week until provisions for humans and horses ran out.

In 1804, a small group of Presbyterian ministers from Kentucky and Ohio, including Stone, penned and signed a document, "The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery", at Cane Ridge that resulted in the birth of a movement seeking unity among Christians along non-sectarian lines. They would call themselves simply "Christians.” The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Churches of Christ (non-instrumental), and the Christian Churches (independent) of the Stone-Campbell movement trace their origins here. This movement is often noted as the first one indigenous to American soil.

Cane Ridge Christian Church congregation continued until 1921 when the declining congregation disbanded. The historic old building stood in its place awaiting recognition of its proper place in cultural and religious history. In the 1930s the ministry of Barton Warren Stone was discovered anew. His role in the Cane Ridge Revival and the development of the Christians of the West sparked the desire to restore the Meeting House to its original appearance. This led to the organization by the Disciples of Christ of the Cane Ridge Preservation Project. In 1934, it was recognized by the US Dept. of the Interior as a building of national significance deemed worthy of saving. To protect it from weather, vermin, and woodpeckers, in 1957 a golden limestone superstructure around the log church was dedicated.


Sources

  1. Excerpts taken from www.canerige.org