Former church building to be restored
A historic building on Main Street in Cliffside is set to be restored by two local couples with a passion for preserving the past.
Johnny and Karin White and Jason and Amy Drum have purchased the building that was once home to Cliffside Baptist Church, and have a vision of turning the building into a hub of the community once again.
“You can feel the history when you walk into the building,” said Karin, who said she is excited to see the former pillar of the community be beautiful once again.
The Whites, who own The Dutch Broad, met the Drums during a farm-to-table dinner they hosted. It was by chance that Johnny mentioned to Amy that he’d like to talk with her about the former church.
Together, they approached the building’s owner and made it know they wanted to purchase it. Now that they own it, the next step is to begin to clean it up, then begin to restore the sanctuary.
“We want this to be a community project, and we want people to share their stories of the church as they help,” Johnny said.
Karin, who is in seminary, plans to interview former members to preserve an oral history of the church.
“When I walk in, the smell is what I remember,” Amy said. “No matter what it looks like inside right now, it still smells like it did.”
Amy, who is descended from Cliffside Mills (later purchased by Cone Mills) founder R.R. Haynes, said the building was built in order for workers at the mill to have a place to worship. Haynes put up half the money to build the church, and members funded the remaining portion.
Timeline for renovation is around 18 months, Johnny said, and the sanctuary is the top priority. The good news, he added, is that the building is structurally sound.
“There a few minor leaks and we know there will be electrical work,” he said. “But our plans are to restore it to what it looked like in 1924.”
The Whites and Drums envision it being a venue for Christian dinner theater, retreats or a number of other events.
“We’d like for it to be a tourist destination,” Karin said.
There aren’t many Christian dinner theaters in the area; the closest, Karin said, is in Fort Mill, S.C. The building has the potential to offer Christian concerts.
“We’d love for it to be a destination for that,” she said. “We really want it to be a focal point and rebuild the community around it.”
They have opted to make the building a for-profit so that it will have sustainability.
“This building is not ours,” Johnny said. “Our names may be on the deed, but ultimately, it’s for the community and when we are no longer here, we’d like it to go on.”
“Everything we are doing is for God’s glory – not our own,” she said.
The Rutherford Weekly, Jan. 12, 2017
From Staff Reports