The first Mother’s Day observance took place at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908, the anniversary of Anna Maria Reeves Jarvis’s death. Jarvis, whose humanitarian efforts were well known in Taylor County, had worked at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church for 30 years. She had dreamed of establishing a day to honor mothers, a dream later realized through the advocacy of her daughter, also named Anna.
Located on East Main Street, the two-story red brick structure sits on a cut-stone foundation. From 1873 to 1966, church services were held at Andrews Methodist Church, which was named for Bishop Edward Gayer Andrews from New York state, who was present at the church’s dedication, March 16, 1873. In 1966, the United Methodist conference merged the congregation with St. Paul’s Methodist and West Main Street Methodist churches, forming the Church of the Good Shepherd.
In 1962, citizens formed the International Mother’s Day Shrine Commission. They established the shrine in the parlor at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church. After the three Methodist congregations merged, Andrews was no longer used regularly as a church. The shrine commission restored the church and opened the entire structure as a shrine in the late 1960s. In 1970, the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and on October 5, 1992, the church became a National Historic Landmark, one of only 16 in West Virginia.
The shrine contains many original church furnishings and displays of Jarvis family photographs and papers. The building is open from April 15 to October 31, and a Mother’s Day service is held each year.
Read the National Register nomination.
Wolfe, Howard H. Mother's Day and the Mother's Day Church. Kingsport, TN: Kingsport Press, 1962.
"National Register of Historic Places Nomination." West Virginia Division of Culture & History, 1970.