Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Delco Landmark is gone!!

A view you might not have seen of the Third Presbyterian Church at 9th and Potter Sts. This was taken about 1910. Another Delco landmark gone.

Note: Sadly the Third Presbyterian Church of Chester is gone. The Church built in 1896 had closed in 1986 and the Chester Historic and Preservation Committee had taken it over in 2015, and was in the process of restoring it. They had the church placed on the National Register of Historic Places in November of last year. The article below is from 1895 when the church construction started. There have been some mistakes in the news and this tells the early history of the 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. Sweney, 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. Sweney, 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.

The Delaware County Historic Preservation Network has put together a virtual Tour Tour of Delaware County Historic Sites. I'm president but Kate Clifford has done so much work to make our site the best. The link for the tour is below.

     Hopefully you've seen the list of Virtual Heritage Tourism, but if you haven't, check it out here: and if you create or have something that should be added to the list, please let us know. We would love for all municipalities to be represented. Even a short YouTube video of your site on a smart phone giving visitors a sneak peek as to what you have available could get you more visitors when you are able to be open. Keep your websites and social media up to date as to what your plans are and any postponed events will keep your audience engaged virtually until it is safe to open.      

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. A couple of the corrections to the 1895 TIMES article, based on CHPC research: 1)"Conosers" appears to be a typo: it should read as "Conosera", a high-quality interlocking tile produced in Alfred, NY; 2)The author appears to have stretched the truth a bit by boasting of seating for 700 listeners...more like 650, still making it one of the largest auditorium spaces in Chester at that time. - Shelley Ashfield, Chester Historical Preservation Committee