Tucked away on a peninsula, surrounded by the Cumberland River and the Cordell Hull Lake, Granville has long been a destination for nature lovers, and for years has held a reputation for festivals and activities in its historic downtown. But now, what was once a sleepy riverboat town is becoming known for something else: weddings.
“Weddings were a natural progression for us,” says James Turner, in announcing the opening of his family’s Granville Wedding Chapel. “A couple of years ago we renovated and transformed the 1923 Granville Mercantile, and that’s been a popular venue for events and stays, especially with the 1,500 square foot Great Room that faces out to the historic Sutton Store. Our guests are captured by our original century-old flooring, and I always smile when I watch their eyes trace upwards to our soaring, trussed ceilings. Simply put, the antique exterior disguises what you’ll find inside, which is a quirky mixture of modern art and eclectic interior design. In the back we have a complete kitchen, two bedrooms with their own baths, and a lovely deck that faces out to the old Presbyterian church building.”
The Presbyterian church building has been a fixture in Granville since 1922, its twin-steepled brick architecture replacing a wooden building that previously stood on a nearby corner. Sited on the same lot as the Mercantile, the church is a snapshot of local history.
“About twenty-five years ago, with attendance often just our immediate family, my grandmother made one of the hardest decisions of her life,” said Turner. “Rather than let the church just fade away, she decided that the right thing was to set about an official end to our congregation. Her great-great-grandfather had started the Granville church in the 1790s, and Memaw wanted to close it with reverence and deliberation. We had a final service for the community, and in the process of working through details with Presbytery, we made an agreement to buy the building. All these years later, we’re glad it again has a purpose, to be a place of happiness and joy.”
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