Those Crosses

West Virginia

July 2011

Route US-19 South, on our way to Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia.  We behold an amazing assortment of “roadside attractions,” including the nearly ubiquitous sets of three crosses alongside the highway.  We don’t count how many we see on this trip, but there are easily more than the number of apostles.  The ones we pass are a few of the one thousand, eight hundred, sixty-four sets of crosses which stand in 28 states, the Philippines and Zambia.  The first three-cross tableau (of this style) went up in 1984.


The mission of Crosses Across America, Inc. is to reach non-Christians with The Message, and to remind Christians that there is hope in Jesus Christ.


The mission of Crosses Across America, Inc. is to preserve, maintain and construct crosses across America.


The mission of Crosses Across America states that, “The Crosses stand to remind people that Jesus was crucified on a Cross at Calvary for our sins;  there is hope in Jesus Christ;  and, that He is soon coming again.”

I lifted these three missions at different times from the website.  They keep changing their minds.

West Virginia, where we score most of our cross sightings, hosts 352 sets, far more than any other state.

The man responsible for the whole toot and scramble was the Reverend Bernard Coffindaffer, of Craigsville, West Virginia, not far from our route, ten miles as the crow flies, twelve miles as the crow drives.  Coffindaffer was a businessman turned evangelist.  As a Methodist minister he anointed himself “Point Man for God,” and made it his mission to cover the world with trios of crosses, most of them a gold rood flanked by two blue ones.

Coffindaffer would first obtain permission from land owners to erect the icons and then, at his own expense, place them strategically so that they could be viewed by a large population, say, drivers like us.  He’d put more than three million dollars into this project.

The reverend and I share a birthday, but not a death day.  He died in 1993.  I didn’t.

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