Pisgah Presbyterian Church

Established as the first Presbyterian church west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Pisgah Presbyterian Church is located near the Fayette-Woodford County Line, west of Lexington, Kentucky. Follow U. S. Route 60 west past Keenland Race Track and the Blue Grass Regional Airport. Almost immediately upon entering Woodford County turn to the north at a local landmark known as “The Castle” on Pisgah Road. The Church is located about ½-mile north of Route 60.

The name Pisgah comes from a biblical mountain mentioned in the Old Testament. The mountain is located in modern-day Jordan east of the Dead Sea and is part of the mountain range (including Mt. Nebo) from which Moses looked across the plains of Moab to see the land of Canaan.

Sitting on thirty acres of land, historic Pisgah Presbyterian Church was founded in 1784. It was built of log about 1785 on land donated by the Samuel Stevenson family. It was located out in what is now the cemetery, probably where the large taxus bushes are now. It was a roughhewn log building with a shingled roof, and the finish of the building itself and its furnishing were rather primitive, which most likely made it uncomfortable in wet or cold weather.

In 1812, the congregation built a meeting house farther up the hill of dry-stacked Kentucky limestone. This building was remodeled in 1868 in a Gothic style. The windows and doors were made in that shape, and the roof was pitched in accordance with it. The pulpit was placed on a podium at one end of the church with a narthex at the other end. The entrance was through one central door to the narthex, with two doors to enter the sanctuary.

The lovely stained-glass windows that grace the building were donated by Dr. Robert C. James and installed in 1888-89 in memory of his mother, Nannie, who had been a devoted member of the church for years. These stained-glass windows emulate windows of large eastern firms such as John Lafarge or L. C. Tiffany. They were created by George Barnes of Philadelphia. Nannie must have been a plant devotee since the windows have flowers that depict various seasons in the life of Christ: Christmas rose for His birth, the palm for Palm Sunday and His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the Easter lily for His resurrection, and the iris for the Trinity. The stained-glass window above the pulpit was donated in honor of long-term minister Rutherford Douglas, who served Pisgah Church faithfully from 1858 until 1890. A pipe organ was given to the church in 1932 and installed in the balcony. It replaced a pump organ on the nave level.

Former Commissioner of Major League Baseball and two-time Kentucky Governor A. B. “Happy” Chandler is buried in the church cemetery.

(excerpts from articles by Missie Wood and This Old Church on Waymarking.com)