A Brief History
About 1865, the Western Maryland Railroad was completed from Baltimore to Hagerstown, MD. Excursions, resorts, and summer homes brought many people to the mountain. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Martin Hawley, who built a summer home named, "Monta Vista". It was not long before they saw the need for a place of worship, and put their vision into action by building a church in the shadow of their home. Hawley Church is said to be a replica of a church in Czechoslovakia and, from an architectural standpoint, is likely the only one of its type in the United States. The material for construction of the church, including the stone and wood, came from the mountain in the rear of the church.
Mr. Martin Hawley, who was an architect, designed the church, but did not live to see it completed. The church was formally dedicated to the glory of God and the welfare of the mountain people in August 1889.
In 1929, after a congregational meeting, the church overtured the Presbytery of Carlisle, presently the Presbyterian Church in the USA, for membership. The overture was favorably received, and the Hawley Memorial Church was enrolled as a member of Carlisle Presbytery.
Each member and minister has contributed his or her particular gifts in the process of growth. They have left behind immeasurable values that have enriched the lives and guided the people of Hawley Memorial Presbyterian Church. In 1984, the Session hired Dr. Charlie Shedd as an interim pastor. From the first Sunday the people were encouraged to hug one another. This tradition of caring and sharing resulted in the name, "The Hug-In Church".