Valle Crucis Episcopal Mission/Valle Crucis Conference Center
Valle Crucis Episcopal Mission, which also goes by Valle Crucis Conference Center, is a historic Episcopal mission church complex and national historic district. It is perched in a valley high in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. It is located in the Valle Crucis Historic District and is a contributing building.
Backstory and Context
Bishop Levi Ives of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina founded a religious community called the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross, at Valle Crucis in 1842.It has been told that Bishop Ives saw the image of a St. Andrew’s Cross, in either the two streams in the valley, or in their accompanying mist, and named this valley Valle Crucis. Over the next few years, Bishop Ives purchased about 2,000 acres. On these 2,000 acres, one of the buildings that he built was a cabin that became his home. This cabin still stands today.
In 1847, Bishop Ives was ordained as a Deacon, but the Anglican Church thought that this society was too "Roman" like and they soon forced Bishop Ives to disband his order in 1852. Soon after, Bishop Ives left for Europe and converted to Roman Catholicism. This left no one to over see the valley, but Brother Skiles took over the work. He had multiple jobs such as being the lawyer, doctor, farmer, and the priest to the people here. He built St. John's Church. However, he died only four months into overtaking these duties. After his passing, much of the church's work came to a halt. It was not until several years later in 1895 that Bishop Cheshire came to Valle Crucis to revive the work of the church.
In 1898, Bishop Horner became the new Bishop of the Asheville Diocese. Horner soon purchased 500 acres by 1903. He did a lot with the 500 acres of land he acquired. He put apple orchards out, a herd of cattle was placed on the land to produce dairy, timber was cut, and a saw mill and wagon factory were built. Barns were built to store apples and to house dairy cattle. Both barns are still standing,and the dairy barn is now a wedding venue as well as a meeting space. The apple storage barn hosts and houses youth groups.
In 1925, the church had outgrown its building and soon a fine stone church was built overlooking the valley. Holy Cross Church is still an active church on the property.
Today the conference center sits on 450 acres and is opened year round. Their website is full of calendar events and they even offer yoga weekly.
. Accessed September 17th 2019. https://vcconferences.org/.
. Explorer Boone. Accessed September 17th 2019. http://www.exploreboone.com/about/local-communities/valle-crucis/.
. High Country Host. Accessed September 17th 2019. https://highcountryhost.com/lodging/conference-retreat-centers/valle-crucis-conference-center.