History of the Arbor
The Balls Creek Campground started in 1853 with the first services held under a brush arbor. The arbor was lighted by pine knots and candles. The Trustees recognized the need for a permanent structure for worship shortly thereafter and hired Lawson Lowrance and Alexander Lineberger to build a structure measuring 60 feet by 80 feet. The structure was made of logs which had been cut, hewn, mortised and pinned together using wooden pegs. As with the brush arbor, pine knots and candle were used for light and with time oil lamps and kerosene lanterns replaced their use until the arbor was wired for electricity in the early 1900’s. Split logs laid at right angles on other logs were used as seating. Services were held in this building until a new arbor was constructed in 1935.
The new arbor is the one that is used by worshippers today. The Trustees hired William A. Setzer to erect a structure measuring 85 feet by 70 feet. Fifty-one 8-inch by 8-inch heavy timber posts and beams were used to support the roof. Total cost then was $1,500. It is believed that some of the original timbers used in the old arbor were used in the present structure. The arbor has a seating capacity of about 500 persons. Since 1935 a number of improvements have been made including a concrete floor, renovations to the pulpit area, cushioning for the benches and a sound system.
Worship services are the very essence of camp meeting. At the present, several services are held each day with special services including the annual sing on the first Friday and Saturday nights.
The arbor sets in the middle of the campground and is surrounded by 304 “tents".