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Garr Family papers

Identifier: MS0521

Scope and Contents

The Garr Family Papers contain material created primarily by members of Garr Memorial Church and administators of the church's summer camp, Camp Lurecrest. The material relating to the church largely consists of Alfred Garr's Bible ca. 1900 with several margin notes and articles inside, sermon notes ca. 1969 and 1972 during the period that Dr. Garr's wife, Hannah Garr, served as pastor of the church and a copy of "The Trailblazer: Dr. A.G. Garr and the History of Garr Memorial Church." There is also an issue of "Full Gospel: Men's Voice" that contains a history of the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, where Dr. Garr was baptized. The rest of the collection is made up of material related to the function and activities of Camp Lurecrest. This includes anniversary programs, magazines, Camp Lurecrest Alumni Association Steering Committee, Legal Matters, papers from the Fourth Christian Camping International Convention and issues of Lure Lines: The News from Camp Lurecrest.


  • Creation: circa 1900-2014


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Garr Family papers are the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Gaelton Garr (July 27, 1875 – July 23, 1944) was an early leader in the Pentecostal movement. Hundreds of churches were born out of his ministry, and he was a pioneer in the healing ministry of Pentecostalism. He became a leader in the Burning Bush movement before attending the Azusa Street Revival and subsequently devoting the rest of his life to healing evangelism and planting Pentecostal churches in the nation and across the globe. Garr was born in Danville, Kentucky to Oliver and Josephine Garr. His middle name was Gaelton, but later in life, he changed it to "Goodrich." He was the fifth and youngest child by 12 years, and particularly doted on by his older siblings and mother. Garr met Lillian G. Anderson (1876-1916) when they were in school at Ashbury College. They married and entered the ministry through the Methodist Church, and moved to California so Alfred could pastor an independent church, the Burning Bush Mission. It was at this time that the Azusa Street Revival broke out in Los Angeles. Garr was the first white pastor to receive baptism by the Holy Spirit on June 16, 1906 as a result of the revival. A week later, Garr was called to go to India and spread the message of Azusa Street, and so two weeks later he departed. Lillian died on April 12, 1916, and Garr went on to marry Hannah Lydia Erickson on July 26, 1918.

After returning from India, the Garr's traveled briefly around the United States until they settled in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1930. They began a tent revival and began to preach. After a miraculous healing, people began swarming to the tent and popularity increased dramatically. As the numbers grew, Garr looked for a larger location, purchasing lumber from the Charlotte Speedway to construct a tabernacle to seat several thousand people. The worship continued for several months in the tabernacle, until Garr bought Charlotte Civic Auditorium in the midst of the Great Depression. Construction to rebuild the new church took until June 18, 1933 when the auditorium was officially opened. Garr Auditorium quickly became the largest Pentecostal Church in the Eastern United States. Alfred Garr died on July 23, 1944, but Garr Auditorium was kept running by his wife, Hannah and son, Alfred G. Garr, jr (1911-2004).

Garr Auditorium, was known by several names over the years: Cannon Cathedral, Wesley Heights Church, Garr Tabernacle, or Garr Church. Founded in 1930 and officially moved into the building constructed in 1933, where the church stood for 80 years until 2010. The church was relocated after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and moved to 7700 Wallace Rd in Charlotte, North Carolina. The original Garr Auditorium had a sign that said "Jesus Saves", constructed out of big white letters and mounted on top of the church. The sign was originally mounted on top of the church so planes passing over could see it. The sign became a local landmark, and even after the congregation was moved in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo, the sign still remained atop the original Garr Auditorium. In 2010, crews removed the sign from the decaying building.


1 Linear Feet


Papers documenting the activities of the Garr family and Garr Memorial Church throughout the 20th century, with an emphasis on the second half of the century. A large part of the collection is made up of binders containing administrative documents for Camp Lurecrest as well as special anniversary celebration programs for the camp. Additionally, the collection contains sermon notes from the 1960s and 1970s and a history of Dr. Alfred G. Garr, Sr. and Garr Memorial Church. There is also a set of three sermons by Dr. Warner Hall of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte from the year 1969.


The collection is arranged into the following three series: Israel and Judaism, Photographs and Assorted materials. There are also several files that do not belong to any series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Robin Brabham (found at an estate sale at Alfred Goodrich Garr III's home) in 2014.

Related Materials

Jeff Lowrance Papers (Mss 390). Moore Family Papers (Mss 281). Waddell Construction Company records (Mss 418). A 20th Century Apostle: the Life of Alfred Garr / Steve Thompson ; Adam Gordon (Special Collections BV3785.G37 T4 2003).

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2016 by Andrew Pack.

Garr Family papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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