Eagle Eyrie History

Old Eagle Eyrie Virginia Baptist Assembly signEagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center is owned and operated by the Virginia Baptist Mission Board of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. Eagle Eyrie is nestled on top of Locke Mountain, approximately eleven miles northwest of downtown Lynchburg on US 501.

The Conference Center’s history dates back to colonial days. In 1761, King George III of England made a generous land grant that took in both Eagle Eyrie and Natural Bridge. The land was later divided between Nicholas Davies, who received Eagle Eyrie, and Thomas Jefferson, who received the remainder.

During the Revolutionary War, Davies was known as “The Eagle.” He used his secluded mountain estate as a refuge from the British, and the name “Eagle’s Eyrie” (meaning “Eagle’s Nest”), later shortened to “Eagle Eyrie,” came into use.

When the property was purchased by William Merriwether in 1852, the deed included a tavern known as “Eagle Eyrie.” The Odgen family owned and operated the tavern from March 1858 to October 1909 when they sold to Seymour Locke, a New York attorney, from whom Locke Mountain acquired its name.

Old White House at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference CenterThe Baron Q. Quarles von Ufford bought the property in 1915 and built the white mansion house, but was forced to sell at the outbreak of World War I when public sentiment had him falsely labeled as a German agent.

The estate passed through numerous other hands until 1950 when the Virginia Baptist General Board purchased the original two hundred acres from O.J. Stephenson, a former Canadian and London broker.

Developed in the 1950’s by the Virginia Baptist General Board (now the Virginia Baptist Mission Board), Eagle Eyrie became the center for Virginia Baptist conferences and activities beginning in 1956.

Since that time, Eagle Eyrie has opened its facilities to numerous other denominations as well, serving more than 20,000 guests each year who come to discover, develop and nurture their spiritual lives.

For more information about the history of Eagle Eyrie, read a Religious Herald article from our 50th celebration.