Thursday, May 30, 2013

Red Hill Cross

The history of the Red Hill Cross as told by an article in the Lawrence County News March 26, 1959

A group of young people in a little country church Southwest of Sumner had been holding Easter sunrise services for several years. They decided that since Christ was crucified on a hill it would be appropriate to hold a service commemorating his Resurrection on a hill. Thus a spot was found on top of Red Hill, the highest point in Lawrence County, and permission obtained from the owner to use it. Other churches were
invited to participate. This first service was held April 25th, Easter Sunday morning, 1943 with nearly 300 people attending.

The Easter sunrise service was continued from year to year and in 1946 a 12 foot wooden cross on a 20 foot pole was erected and lighted by a small electric generator the Saturday night before Easter.

In 1947 the Council was formed of members from churches of eight denominations in the Western part of the County. Permission was obtained from the state to erect a cross made of iron pipe supporting electric light bulbs and mounted on top of a windmill tower. This cross was lighted each night the week preceding Easter.

In 1949 a similar cross was erected 40'6" high, 27 foot wide, and the top was 80 foot from the ground.

In 1958, the Council pooled all ideas, made several crude models and decided to build a rotating  neon lighted cross. About 1500 contributed time,  labor, and materials.

First a tower was constructed, 20 feet at the base, and 7 foot from the ground a floor of 2 inch plank was laid. The platform enabled the speaker and a large choir to be seen from the parking area. The tower then tapered to an 18 in.square at the top where loudspeakers were attached for the sunrise service.

In the center of the 18 in. square was an enclosed driving mechanism for the revolving action of the cross. 

The cross itself was 48 foot high and 32 foot-wide illuminated by 20 neon tubes that could be seen for several miles at night from an overall height of 98 foot atop the highest hill in Lawrence County.