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.
FROM THE EARLY RECORDS OF
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF MAUCH CHUNK
OF COMMUNICANTS BOOK 4
to the Carbon
County Index Page