The History of Linden A.R.P. Church


In September, 1911, the Linden congregation had its beginning as a Mission Church under the leadership of Dr. J. C. Galloway.

Dr. Galloway, pastor of First A.R.P. Church of Gastonia, and the Rev. A.T. Lindsay, pastor at Pisgah, alternated in preaching at the West Gastonia mission for some time. Services were first held in the old Lindsay store building (vacant at the time) located at the northeast corner of Linwood Street and West Second Avenue. Later the congregation used the facilities of Loray Presbyterian Church * for a brief period and then began holding services in the old Boyd Schoolhouse. It was located at or near the corner of Linwood Street and Spencer Avenue.

First Presbytery felt the prospects were favorable for the establishment of a new church in West Gastonia. Arrangements were made for the Rev. Robert Ross Caldwell, pastor of the Bessemer City A.R.P. Church to take over the work. He assumed the duties as pastor on January 1, 1912. The congregation was officially organized with 36 charter members on December 29, 1912, by a Commission under the authority of First Presbytery.

The first church building was erected during 1918-1919 on Bessemer City Road near Grayson's Curve. It was often called the "Little White Church". This building still stands and is presently occupied by "The Jesus Way Tabernacle".

The second new building was built in 1927 on the southeast corner of West Franklin Avenue and White Street. (Now Garrison Blvd.) The congregation remained at this location until October 1956, when it moved to 205 South Myrtle School Road. On the 3.6 acres of land was an old sixteen-room dwelling known as "the old Love house". *(Now West Avenue Presbyterian)

Worship services and Church School were held in the old house while the Sanctuary and South wing of the Educational building were constructed in 1957. The first worship services were held in the new Sanctuary on December 22, 1957. The old "church house" was used until 1970 when it was torn down. The Fellowship Hall and other educational facilities were completed in 1971.

The church was known as "Second Gastonia" or "Second A.R.P." from the date of organization until 1957 when the name was changed to "Linden Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church". The name, Linden, was chosen by the congregation from a list of several submitted; and appropriately so because of the Linden trees on the local property and on the grounds at Bonclarken, the A.R.P. Conference Center at Flat Rock, N.C.