Lots of things have changed at Montrose Bible Conference in the 105 years since R.A. Torrey founded it in 1908.
His summer home, site of the original Bible conference
still remains and today has beautiful guest rooms and meeting areas.
Dreyer Hall, constructed in 1925, retains it’s original charm
though a chapel has been added on the end and (I am happy to report) the entire building is now completely air conditioned.
Originally people would stay in tents
in order to listen to the notable speakers (R.A. Torry himself and others, including D.A. Moody and Donald Barnhouse) in the Tabernacle, built in 1918 on the newly purchased nearby farm property.
Although built as a temporary structure, the Tabernacle stood strong until the late 1990’s when the roof caved in under the weight of the snow. Today on that site is the MBC Family Campground – our neighborhood these last five months.
(That’s R.A. Torrey and his wife Clara’s grave site overlooking the campground.)
Just down the hill from the Tabernacle was Huston Lodge, the earliest motel accommodations for conference attendees.
Today it’s used for storage – and the occasional work area!
But look back at the first picture of Huston – did you notice the cross on the left?
That lighted cross held its place of honor, overlooking both the conference center and shining down on Montrose, for many decades and stands there still today. However, as sometimes happens, the cross fell into some disrepair. Several years ago the neon lighting failed and expert examination declared that it was not easily repairable. Yet it continued to stand, still a symbol of what the conference center stood for, though now it was dark in the night, and a bit ‘long in the tooth’ during the day. Recently, a Sunday School class from Montrose felt the call to check again into having the cross restored. They called in another lighting expert and found with today’s technology the repair was do-able, and at once the work was begun!
It was taken down from its perch,
sanded and primed
then painted it’s original white. The lighting was expertly repaired
and then the cross was lifted ever so carefully back to its home.
That night we made sure to look for it as we did a quick milk and eggs run.
Can you see it there, just about in the middle of the picture?
So the Cross is back. Not that it was ever really gone. Not that Montrose Bible Conference, for all of it’s 105 years of history and changes in architecture, has changed its focus – to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to disciple believers in their faith. But as a symbol of that faith and a remembrance of all that this conference center has meant to this community and to those who have attended conferences and camps here in years past –
Yes, it’s back.
And that’s a wonderful thing!
Lift high the cross
The love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world
Adore His sacred name.
George W. Kitchin (1887)