The First Presbyterian Church
Updated October 9, 2003
First organized on the last day of October 1835, the first service was held November 1 of that year. The image at right shows the original church, which was very small. It was located near the base of the High Street Steps on West Broadway, a place now occupied by the Towers apartment building.
Reverend Richard Webster, shown at left, was the first minister of the church, and led the church for 20 years. A very gifted and dynamic man, Rev. Webster soon saw his congregation out grow the small church. Construction began on the new church, which would be much larger, and the second church would serve as the congregation’s home for well over 100 years. Ground was broken in late 1855, and the dedication was held in 1859. Unfortunately Rev. Webster, who had guided the formation not only the Mauch Chunk Church, but also the Presbyterian churches in Summit Hill, Tamaqua and Port Carbon, did not live to see the new church, he died in early 1856.
The new church was located down and across the street from the original, and still stands there today next to the Mauch Chunk Opera House. In the early 1970s, the church was forced to close its doors when the congregation, having grown small, merged with the church in Summit Hill. The church stood vacant for a time, and then was bought by the county government, which used it for office space and a day care. Then the building was bought and turned into an art gallery, and that is its present usage. Beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows fill the walls of the 2nd floor congregation room, and presently a study is being made to find if preservation work is needed on them. It is unfortunate that the building is no longer a church, but it is fortunate the old building is in good hands and still in use and open to the public.
DATA FROM THE EARLY RECORDS OF
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF MAUCH CHUNK
Ř ROLL OF COMMUNICANTS BOOK 4
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