Chester's Third Presbyterian Church at 9th and Potter Sts. about 1910, is one of many on going preservation projects in Delaware County.
NOTE: It is so important to preserve our history, for future generations. Many local historical societies struggle to maintain and preserve historic properties they own. It is not easy and requires money and volunteers etc. So take the time and money to support local historical projects in your community and in Delaware County and VOLUNTEER. Every site and society needs volunteers. I'm always looking for typists and the Delaware County Historical Society is always looking for help.
The Chester Historic Preservation Committee has taken on the enormous project to restore the Third Presbyterian Church at 9th and Potter Streets. Please take the time to visit their site and take the time to help them with this project https://chesterpreservation.org/about/old-third-presbyterian-church
Below at little history of the Third Presbyterian Church
May 27, 1895 – CHESTER TIMES
THE THIRD CHURCH – A Picture of the Handsome New Edifice
The Church’s History
– The Happy Realization of Years of Patient Effort by Pastors and People
The TIMES today prints a picture of the handsome new edifice of the Third Presbyterian Church, as it will appear when completed. The TIMES is indebted to Isaac F. Pursell, the architect, and the Building Committee, for the handsome perspective view of the church, to Mayor John B. Hinkson for the historical date, and to George D. Howell, C. E., for the description of the structure.
On September 17, 1875, a preliminary meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a Presbyterian congregation in the northern part of this city. Those present were: William V. Black, Adam C. Eckfeldt, J. Frank Black, Theodore Hyatt, Henry B. Black, John C. Lindsay, William Hinkson, Samuel Black, Lewis Ladomus, Stephen Parsons, John R. Sweeney, J. Elwood Black, John B. Hinkson and James Stephens. On September 20, Adam C. Eckfeldt, Stephen Parsons and Theodore Hyatt were appointed a committee to present to the Presbytery the application for organization. ON September 30, a petition signed by fifty-three persons, was presented to the Presbytery of Chester, and the prayer of the petitioners was granted. The Presbytery appointed Reverend Messrs. Bowers, Hodgkins and Lawson a committee to organize the new congregation.THE CHURCH ORGANIZED – On October 16th, 1872 the church was organized, the elders being Adam C. Eckfeldt and Stephen Parsons. On October 31st, the elders were increased to four, H. B. Black and John B. Hinkson being elected. The number was again increased to six. The present elders are: Henry B. Black, John R. Sweeney, Maxwell Ocheltree, B. Frank Beatty, John B. Hinkson and J. Frank Black. On November 29th a charter was granted to the congregation.
On February 12th, 1893, at a congregational meeting, at which Rev. James W. Dale, D. D., presided. Rev. Charles F. Thomas was elected the first pastor. The pulpit up to that time had been supplied by Rev. E. R. Bowers. On May 7th, 1873, the first election of trustees was held, when Theodore Hyatt, Adam C. Eckfeldt, John B. Hinkson, James Stephens, J. Frank Black, Lewis Ladomus, Henry B. Black, Samuel Black and William Hinkson, were elected.
The present trustees are: William Hinkson, President; John B. Black, Secretary, John C. Hinkson, Treasurer; William R. Murphy, Jr., John B. Hinkson, James E. Cardwell, George D. Howell, H. C. Farson and I. Engle Cochran, Jr.
THE DEDICATION – On October 5, 1873 the church at Twelfth and Upland Streets was dedicated. Previous to this the services had been held in Fulton Hall at Broad and Upland Streets. February 28, 1878, Rev. C. F. Thomas resigned and on May 31 of the same year, Rev. Thomas McCauley was called to the pastorate and served until June, 1893. November 8, 1893, Rev. M. J. McLeod, the present pastor was called and installed the same month.
The total number of members of the church including those on what is known as the Reserved Roll, is 439. The number added to the membership during the past year is 87. The Sabbath schools have always been flourishing, and the number of scholars in both schools is now about 550. Maxwell Ocheltree is superintendent of the Sabbath schools and Miss Mary H. Volkhardt is teacher of the Infant school; Ridgely G. Hinkson is librarian.
The congregation now numbers more than 500 which exceeds the comfortable capacity of the building and the Sabbath schools, which are held in the church room, being also cramped for room, it has been decided to erect a new building with appropriate Sabbath school rooms and other apartments on the lot recently purchased on the north side of Broad Street, west of Potter Street. The land cost $15,000 and has been paid for. The building with all its appurtenances and fixtures will probably cost $40,000 more.THE NEW BUILDING – The contract for the building has been let to William Provost, Jr., and it is now in course of erection. The Building Committee are William Hinkson, Henry B. Black, J. Frank Black, M. Ocheltree, Geo. D. Howell and I. E. Cochran, Jr.
In its general style the building is gothic. The doorways and cloisters surrounding the auditorium, being broken by spires and projections, enhance the effect of the dome issuing out of its classic setting and give dignity and grace to the whole structure.
The main audience room is octagonal, the supporting roof trusses rise from heavy pillars and meet in the center, high over the heads of the audience. The chords will be of hardwood, worked into a fine finish and together with the other complimentary parts will give an audience room unsurpassed in our city.
The pulpit is in the northeast corner in full view of the chapel, classrooms and cloisters, as well as of the main room. Behind the pulpit will be the pastor’s study, lavatory, etc. To the left of the pulpit the organ and choir will be ensconced, there being room for a grand organ and fifty singers. The pews are to be circular, centering on the ascending from the pulpit so that every one of the 700 listeners will have an unobstructed view of the speaker. Surrounding the main room on the south and west are the vestibules and cloisters. There are three main entrances and two private ones. These spaces will accommodate 200 extra sittings.
SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOMS – The Sunday school rooms are easily connected with the church proper by disappearing doors and when all is thrown into one the speaker in the pulpit will stand in the center of a large chamber capable of comfortably seating eighteen hundred persons.
The adult and infant school rooms are so arranged that the whole gathering will be under the control of the superintendent. The ladies have a cozy parlor, kitchen and dining rooms. The building will be of Avondale marble trimmed with Indiana limestone and roofed with Conosers terra cotta tile. The outside dimensions are 116 feet front by 149 feet deep. The structure will be set back 20 feet from the new building line of Broad Street. The front of the church proper is 85 feet, the remaining width being occupied by the Sunday school building and porte cochers.
The aim has been to avoid all unnecessary expense in the shape of heavy ornamentation, but rather to sacrifice everything to the comfort of the audience, and utility for the work in hand.
July 12, 1895 – CHESTER TIMES
THE THIRD’S CHURCH
The Cornerstone Ceremonies Were Conducted Last Night
A Handsome Church Edifice
The New Building Will be Built on Broad Street near Potter, and the Estimated Cost, Including the Ground, is $45,000
In the presence of about 500 persons of every denomination represented in this city, the cornerstone of the new Third Presbyterian Church, which will rise on the old Miller property, on Broad Street near Potter, was laid at 6:30 o’clock last evening. This unusual hour for a service of this kind was chosen to accommodate the public, as it was thought best to avoid the heat of the day, although the latter turned out to be very pleasant for the occasion.
The exercises were held on the southwestern end of the foundation walls, where the stone was placed, and were of a simple yet interesting character. A big platform had been erected around this end of the building and on this those who participated stood, including the choir and the visitors who wished to get a glimpse of the stone and the copper box and its contents.
The service began with a short prayer by Professor J. B. Randell, of Lincoln University who in the absence of the pastor, Rev. J. McLeod is supplying his pulpit. This was followed by the hymn: “How Firm a Foundation,” in which the audience joined. Portions of appropriate Scripture were then read and J. Frank Black, secretary of the session, asked for the reading of the minutes of the meeting at which the authority was given to the trustees to build a new church. This was read by the secretary of the board, John B. Black.
In pursuance of this authority Mayor John B. Hinkson stated what the trustees had done in the way of procuring the lot, the giving of the contract, etc., and the prices thereof.
THE ADDRESSES – Professor Rendell followed with an address in which he referred to the influence of a church and said that eternity alone would reveal it. He said a cornerstone is significant of unity and support, and is a prophecy of the living stone which is to be built on the sure foundation, even Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. Joseph Vance, of the Second Presbyterian church, brought greetings from that congregation, and in a few remarks referred to the surrounding property as being once the farm of ex-Mayor Larkin. He outlined the moral and spiritual progress of Chester.
The next speaker was Rev. Dr. Henry, a returned missionary from China, who told of his work in the Celestial Kingdom, and wished the Third Church great success. He was followed by Colonel Charles E. Hyatt, who made a most beautiful and eloquent reference to the compatibility of the school and church, and stated that while the students in the one look up to God through art, science and literature, the text book of the church is the Bible. The hymn “Rock of Ages” was then sung.
Before the stone was placed in position by Contractor Provost and his workmen, Harry Black read the list of articles which were to be deposited in the box, and placed in a cavity in the stone. As each of the following articles were named, Captain George D. Howell put them in the box:
IN THE CORNERSTONE – Copy of the Bible, plans of the church, the Presbyterian and Presbyterian Journal, and the following Chester papers: Times, News, Issue, Advocate, Republican and Democrat; photograph exterior and interior view of old church, newspapers containing cuts of church, photographs of the three pastors, Revs. M. J. McLeod, Thomas McCauley, D.D. and C. F. Thomas, D.D.; photograph of new building, list of communicants, contributors to the lot and building, list of members of the Session of the board of trustees of the deacons, officers and teachers of the Sunday School and Chinese School; list of the members of choir of the home and foreign missionary society, also of the Dorcas, Mite and Christian Endeavor Societies; charter of church, report of building committee, copy of manual of city councils, list of the city officials and program of exercises. The whole was covered with the American flag.
The stone was then lifted by means of rope attached to a device, the mortar was placed beneath it and the stone lowered into place, while Prof. Rendell read the service declaring the stone laid. Five children from the infant department then advanced and each laid a bouquet of flowers upon the stone. They were Helen M. Volkhardt, Harriett Wood, Bessie Fields, Jessie Wallraven, and Fannie Maraden. The dedicatory prayer was offered by Dr. Vance, after which “America” was sung and the benediction pronounced.
The ground was broken for the new church in the latter part of May, and remarkable progress has been made. The building committee consists of Captain George D. Howell, J. Frank Black, Maxwell Ocheltree, Harry Black and John B. Black.
THE NEW CHURCH – In general style the building is gothic. The doorways and cloisters surrounding the auditorium, being broken by spires and projections, enhance the effect of the done issuing out of its classic setting and give dignity and grace to the whole structure.
The main audience room is octagonal. The supporting roof trustees rise from heavy pillars and meet in the center, high over the heads of the audience. The chords will be of hard wood, worked into a fine finish and together with the other complementary parts, will give an audience room unsurpassed in our city.
The pulpit is in the northeast corner, in full view of the chapel, classrooms and cloisters as well as the main room. Behind the pulpit will be the pastor’s study, lavatory, etc. To the left of the pulpit the organ and choir will be ensconced, there being room for a grand organ and fifty singers.
The pews are to be circular, centering on and ascending from the pulpit so that every one of the 700 listeners will have an unobstructed view of the speaker. Surrounding the main room on the south and west are the vestibules and cloisters. There are three main entrances and two private ones. These spaces will accommodate 200 extra sittings.
SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOMS – The Sunday school rooms are connected with the church proper by disappearing doors and when all is thrown into one, the speaker in the pulpit will stand in the center of a large chamber capable of comfortably seating eighteen hundred persons.
The adult and infant rooms are so arranged that the whole gathering will be under the control of the superintendent. The ladies have a cozy parlor, kitchen and dining rooms.
The building will be of Avondale marble trimmed with Indiana limestone and roofed with Conosera terra cotta tile. The outside dimensions are 116 feet front by 249 feet deep. The structure will be set back 20 feet from the new building line of Broad Street. The front of the church proper is 85 feet, the remaining width being occupied by the Sunday school building and porte-cochere.