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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

March 10, 2021

--by Douglas McVarish

[This post is the second in a series tracing the history of American Presbyterian Church architecture through individual churches. The first churches to be discussed will be those designated as National Historic Landmarks in recognition of their outstanding historical and/or architectural significance.]

The present home of the Downtown Presbyterian Church congregation was built in 1849, for the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville. Located at 154 Fifth...

February 4, 2021

--by Douglas McVarish

The National Park Service recognizes significant historic buildings, structures, and sites in two ways. Those that possess local and statewide significance may be entered into the National Register of Historic Places. Those that possess national significance may be designated as National Historic Landmarks (NHL).

Each of the nearly 2,600 NHLs represents an outstanding aspect of American history and culture.[1] Just a...

May 11, 2020
Edwin Brumbaugh at Pottsgrove Manor. Image courtesy of the Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, Winterthur Library.

--by Douglas McVarish

The Presbyterian Historical Society turned 100 years old in the mid-twentieth century. Always located in Philadelphia, the Society’s first home was at 821 Chestnut Street. Then, in 1897, the Society moved to the Witherspoon Building at 1319-1323 Walnut Street, a high-rise erected to house...

April 20, 2020

--by Douglas McVarish

The voluminous sets of records saved by Rev. James L. Doom and the Board of National Ministries, which are now archived at PHS, paint a detailed picture of the influences on the designs of post-World War II Southern Presbyterian churches, as we began to discuss in a previous blog post. Doom’s office files were divided into two major categories: architects and congregations. The architect files document Doom’s...

March 13, 2020

--by Douglas McVarish

The Presbyterian Church, as with other Protestant denominations, has long been active in the design and construction of its church buildings.

In 1844, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School) directed its Board of Missions to appoint a Church Extension Committee. The purpose of this committee was to help less prosperous congregations build houses of worship. Similarly, in 1853, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (New School) appointed its own Committee on Church Erection. In 1870, these two extension agencies...

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