Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly

Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly

Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly

Summer was synonymous with Ridgecrest.  Ridgecrest is a convention area where Baptists from all over the southeastern United States convene for week-long conferences.  Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains, not far from Asheville, North Carolina, it is a scenic, almost resort.

Through our parents’  connection to the Knox County Baptist Associational office, Nene was able to get a job in the summer, working at the Knox County Lodge at Ridgecrest.  Though I was only 15 the first year she worked there, they allowed me to work, based on the fact that I was a preacher’s daughter, and would have an older sibling to keep an eye on me.  They had been misinformed!  We weren’t bad girls, but we had a mischievous streak that ran the length of the railroad tracks that delivered us by train each summer, from the Knoxville Train Depot to the tiny depot by the side of the tracks in Black Mtn., North Carolina.


We boarded the train, and waved goodbye to Mother and Suzanne.  We had stars in our eyes and mischief on our minds.  Though innocent and naive  in our virtue, we were well-seasoned pranksters.  The sound of the wheels of the train clicking along the track, the whistle blowing as it neared a curve or a crossing, and the conductor coming through the cars to collect our tickets was thrilling.  Our Grandpa Payne had been a conductor for Southern Railways, and had retired just a few years before.  Traveling and trains were in our blood.

Stepping down from the train onto the dusty, wooden, platform of the Black Mtn. Depot, we were instantly transported into another world.  There was no one at the depot.   We picked up our suitcases and headed for the long walk to Knox County Lodge.  Luggage didn’t have wheels, back in the day, so by the time we arrived at our destination, we had stopped on the winding mountain road to rest a few times along the way.

Circa 1966

Circa 1966

As you can see, the lodge was built from cinder block.  The outside looks plush compared to the inside.  All of the floors, in the dormitory style housing, were concrete.  Each room had 2 full- size beds and a place to hang your clothes, that did not have a door.  Each room had a bathroom, but the amenities ended there.

Air-conditioning was unheard of, so all of the windows were open in the summer. 

There was a small lobby in the entrance.  Located at the rear of the lobby was a staircase; concrete with steel handrails.  The first room on the left, after passing the staircase was our room. The next room belonged to the director, Mrs. Trivette.  At the other end of the hall was another staircase.

Located on the floor below us was the dining hall.  This is where we were to report three times per day to set the tables, and carry the country-style meals to the tables,  and clean up afterwards.  At the end of the week, an offering plate was passed for us and we divided the proceeds between all of the servers, of whom there were seven or eight.  Our room and board was furnished, and we had the privilege of attending conference sessions while we were there.  The money we made working was spending money.  I describe all of this to you so that you will appreciate this series of stories I am going to tell you.

There were strict curfew rules at the lodge.  Conference attendees were early risers.  They had to be at breakfast by 7:00 am to make the conference sessions at 8:00.  Mrs. Trivett insisted that all lights must be out by 11:00 pm. 

As soon as lights out was called, she would turn out the hall lights and walk the halls to see if any light was coming out from under the doors.  She would gently knock on those doors and remind them of “lights out”.  We waited until we heard her door close and gave her a few minites to settle down.  Nene, me, and our two roommates sneaked out into the hall and tip-toed down the stairs.  Since we could get into the kitchen, we raided it.  We got fried chicken, pie, rolls, bananas, everything we could carry, and made our way quietly and safely back to the room.  We piled all the food in the middle of the food and sat down to our feast.  “We need something to drink” one of the girls remarked.  “Yeah, we do.”  said another.  “Pam, go get us a couple of sodas out of the machine.”, Nene insisted. 

Like the dutiful sister, I tiptoed out the door, past Mrs. Trivette’s room, and to the end of the long hallway, where the drink machine was located.  I slipped the money in the slot.  Bong, dingy-ding, bong, bong!  Every time the canned drink hit the chute, it echoed throughout the cinder-block building and through the hallways.  Up and down every staircase, through each open window, and into the great forest that surrounded the building.  I heard Mrs. Trivette’s door open.  Thinking quickly, I ran downstairs, through the dining hall, and back up the staircase that came out beside our room.  Just as I rounded the corner of the first landing, I looked up and saw Mrs. Trivette at the top of the steps.  Hair curlers and hair net, bathrobe, and hands on hips, she whispered, “Pamela! What are you doing out of your room?”  I mumbled something about being thirsty, as I slid past her.  I apologized for my first night of missing lights out, and plead new kid on the block.

We thought we were safe, when a while later we heard a knock on our door.  We all hopped into the bed and turned out the light.  She knocked again. “Girls!”  Silence.  “Open the door.” she demanded.  Igot up and answered the door, acting like she had awakened us.  “We were asleep.” The words glided off my lying tongue.   “Well, Pamela!  Do you always sleep in your clothes?”  Sarcastically she addressed us.  “Jeaneane!  Do you always sleep in your glasses?  Do you girls think I was born yesterday?  I saw the light on under your door, and heard you laughing.  You can hear you all the way down the hall.  Now get to bed, and I mean NOW!”  We were busted! 

That was our initial introduction to Mrs. Trivette.  Wait until you hear about Nene’s encounter with her.  Bring a towel!




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12 Comments on “Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly”

  1. Granny Anne Says:

    I could almost feel the tension of waiting for that door to open:)
    I know we had a lot more discipline in our youth, but what memories we have of getting round it!
    I’ll bet Mrs Trivette had a good laugh with the other supervisors when she told them about it!

  2. Betty Lynch Says:

    I see I missed a lot by not having a brother or sister closer to my age. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Can see inside this building just like a map in my mind, and laughed at the confrontation with the ‘sleepless Mrs. Trivette’!! You only live once, and such fun memories are proof that life can be risky, while still being a load of laughs! Thanks for letting us in on this, now await Nene’s encounter??? hahaha

  4. Oh, you naughty, naughty girl!!! One of the reasons I love you so much!! 🙂

    Can’t wait to read the next installment of “girls gone wild” at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly. It’s gotta be a hoot!!!

  5. Boomer Girls Gone Wild on the next Girlfriends Getaway Weekend in North Carolina! It would be really cool if your sister could come and ya’ll share these stories in person.

  6. Robert Beam Says:

    Haha that’s funny. We dishwashers had it easier, we were always on the first floor! Of course we too had to remember the maxim, “Mrs. Trivette never sleeps.” How true.

  7. Pastor Stephen Kow Quayson Says:

    Dear Sir
    Greetings in Jesus name. Happy to communicate with you. I would like Rigecrest Baptist Assamlly and Joy Baptist Church to have partnership in mission.
    Hope to hear from you.
    Pastor Stephen

    • Archer Pam Says:

      Pastor Stephen,

      This is a blog that you have come across. I was an attendee at Ridgecrest many, many years ago. You can check the Southern Baptist website for information on contacts regarding Ridgecrest.
      Thank you for stopping by.

      God Bless!


  8. Mary B. Scott Says:

    I went to Ridgecrest every summer for a week when I was growing up. I loved, loved, loved it!!!!!! I totally relate to the comment “stars in our eyes and mischief on our minds.” But in spite of that, I had some of the most spiritual moments/experiences of my life on that mountain. Memories I will never forget. BTW, this was late 50’s and early 60’s.

  9. Luther N. Davis III Says:

    I was 15 in 1951 when I first worked at Ridgecrest. I was vacationing with my family and we were eating a meal at a sidewalk cafe in Cherokee N.C.when a Greyhound bus stopped right at our cafe. As the people were getting off, we saw friends we had made at the First Baptist Church of McComb Mississippi, and we learned that they were headed to Ridgecrest for a Sunday School conference. Anxious to spend some more time together, they invited us to go to Ridgecrest. We did.

    After being there a few days, I made friends with a staff member, who told me that there had been a flu epidemic in North Carolina and most of the staff who had planned to work the summer were ill and cound not attend. “Daddy” Weeks, the Director of the assembly
    then, interviewed me, and told me I could start to work that day, and I did.

    I had been in church all my life. In fact I was in church 9 months before I was born and at about that time, I paid about as much attention then as I did in later years. At 12 years old, I “joined the
    church” but I was not “saved” At 15 I was not into a lot of bad
    stuff, but I hung around with a guy who cussed a lot, and I picked up
    that bad habit.

    The mens dormotory had just been built at Ridgecrest for male staff members. Construction had not been completed and the walls
    dividing each room, did not go all the way to the ceiling. You could
    get on your knees on the upper bunk bed and look all the way to the end of the dorm. A favorite prank was to throw something,
    (preferably soft) from one room to another, then get down on the bunk and no one would know who threw it. A roll of toilet tissue was
    the missle of choice. I was involved in such an activity one day, when I was getting ready to throw a roll, I got up just in time to catch an overripe orange right in the face. My “Pre-Ridgecrest” vocabulary came into play. I remember what I said, but will not repeat it here.

    It got real quiet in the usually noisy dorm, and in a few minutes, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to see a very contrite
    guy who was 19 and the son of a preacher. He was so apologetic, not only for throwing the orange, but for causing someone to use
    the Lords name in vain.

    For the remainder of the summer, my language changed, although
    word had gotten around the facility of what I had done. I was probably the most prayed for kid on the staff. I was 15 then, I am
    75 today. By the way, I was saved in 1972. Luther Davis

  10. Dale Friday Says:

    Ridgecrest was, and still is, a magical place. I attended ‘youth week’ three years as a teenager. This was long before Centrifuge existed. As an adult, I became a Sunday School teacher and Youth Bible teacher, and accompanied 6 youth groups (over a period of 15 years) to Ridgecrest. It had the same enchanting and uplifting effect on them, as it had had on me 20 years earlier. now, after 20 more years have passed, I am grateful that Ridgecrest is still there, still teaching Godly principles, STILL; changing lives. I hope to return to Ridgecrest again sometime. It is one of my very favorite places on the Earth. Thanks to the SBC and everyone who has built it, and keeps it going today.

    • Luther N. Davis III Says:

      Dale, I know the feeling. I worked on the staff at Ridgecrest In 1951,1952 and 1953. I was only 15 in 1951 but there was a flu
      epidemic in NC and they were short handed. I worked at Glorieta in1954. I could write a book, that would probably be of no interest to anyone but me. The staff still celebrates Christmas July 25 and I try to send a card, but can you imagine how hard it is to find Christimas cards in July? “Daddy Weeks” was the director back then. The best part of the day, was singing with the staff on the stairway of the main building. Ridgecrest was probably the best time of my life. God Bless. Luther Davis

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