First Presbyterian Church

 

History

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1864 buildingThe First Presbyterian Church of Marshalltown, Iowa, was organized on March 15th, 1858 under the pastorate of Reverend James Gordon. In the spring of 1864 the Reverend L.H. DeLoss with seventy-two members began the process of building a house of worship. He appealed to the community to help lay the foundation and the work progressed. It was completed and dedicated in November of 1865, at a cost of nearly $12,000. In 1891 a pipe organ was purchased and installed for $2,000.

1914 buildingIn 1907 the church had grown to 280 members and the elders and trustees met on March 24th and decided to build a new church building. The corner stone was laid in October of 1907 and the church was dedicated on Sept. 13, 1908. The church cost $30,000 to construct.

westminister academyIn 1915, with the leadership of Reverend J. P. Linn, the church founded a mission school and developed it into a church called the Westminster Chapel. Miss Mae Wagner was placed in charge and the enrollment grew to over seventy-five.

fireashesFire destroyed a large part of the church on Sept 22, 1917. Construction of a new and larger church was begun immediatly, but fire again erupted in the basement in the spring of 1918. The church building was finally completed on May 25, 1918 and cost $50,000.

In 1921 the Reverend Dr. James A. Laurie and the Presbyterian Church joined with other churches in Marshalltown to sponsor the Biederwolf Evangelistic Campaign. It ran from November 6 through December 11, 1921. This was the most important religious event held in Marshalltown since Billy Sunday preached in 1909. The meetings had a total attendance of 97,200 people, and 1,561 people made first time commitments to Jesus Christ.

The depression of the 1930s was a difficult time for the church and its members. The trustees signed personal notes at the bank so that the church could continue to have a pastor and remain open. The pastor lived in the church until affordable housing could be found.

additionA new fellowship hall and Sunday school classrooms addition was begun in 1958. It was dedicated in 1960 and cost $124,373. New furnishings for the fellowship hall were made possible by a generous gift from the Fisher Foundation.

windowThe sanctuary was completely remodeled in 1984. The organ pipes were moved and the rose window on the East end of the church was made visible again. During the construction the Congregational Church graciously provided us with a place of worship in their facility. The remodeling was completed in 1985 at a cost of $163,778.

In 1989 it was discovered that the walls of the sanctuary were bowing outward. The roof was raised and the walls drawn back into plumb and the trusses reinforced with steel. This cost the church $93,808.

The old coal room and storage space under the sanctuary was dug out, burned timbers from 1918 were replaced and the area finished in 1993. The new lower lounge was completed at the cost of $100,000.

This church has sent seven women to the mission field.
Two members have gone on to be ministers and one into full time Christian service.