Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration and Cemetery

The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Bat Cave traces its history to 1897 when the Sisters of the Transfiguration arrived as missionaries. The Sisters of the Transfiguration organized in southern Ohio and still own land in the Bat Cave community.
In 1906, the sisters opened a school for area children and the building was also used as a chapel for a mission church.
Land was purchased where Hickory Creek joins the Broad River and the building was moved to that location. From 1906 until 1911, the Rev. Reginald Wilcox from St. James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville served the area.
In 1915, the Western Missionary District of Asheville became the Diocese of Western North Carolina. The sisters gave the church building to the diocese.
The first “priest-in-charge” was appointed in 1923. Regular services were then held most Sundays. During the years repairs and remodeling were conducted.
In May 1945 the church burned. A new church was built and completed in 1947.
Saved from the burning church was a carved walnut alter, wrought iron lights, altar brasses and the communion rail.
The following are excerpts from the sisters when they first visited the area of Bat Cave in 1897:
“…and I have been longing ever since we have been here to have a convent here someday, where our busy city workers could come for rest and change, and which might be a center of religious life and work in this valley, which stretches forty miles from Rutherford to Asheville with hardly a Baptist meeting house in it, and just dotted all the way with tiny farms and log cabins and stray bits of human life.
“Yesterday we took a delightful tramp and scramble through the forest where huge moss-covered trees lay fallen upon the ground while thousands more shot up in vertical columns toward heaven; where the sunlight never comes save in trembling gleams, and tender things that love the shade, rare mosses and ferns and fan-shaped fungi, grow unmolested.”
In another journal was written:
“We had to push through dense underbrush, make our way over fallen trees, or skirt around great rocks, and along with the massive and magnificent in nature there was such exquisite detail, toadstools of every size and most brilliant and unexpected coloring, bright orange or terracotta, crimson and brown, snow white and even pale blue and purple ones. A centipede whose scales were black-edged with a lovely salmon color lay asleep on a log and only bestirred himself when we poked him up with our sticks. A lovely pool lying still and deep under a cavernous rock fringed with rhododendrons at last rewarded our search. It was buried in a density of growth that gave me a better idea and impression of primeval forest than anything I have ever seen. Giant chestnuts towering up to the skies and mighty hemlocks lying prostrate across the stream, and such a thicket of smaller trees…”
The cemetery at the church was established about the time that the church was re-built in 1947. The oldest grave is that of William Cunningham (1872-1948.
The grave site of George F. Bond, who established the Valley Clinic and Hospital, is located in the cemetery.