A Brief History of First Presbyterian Church
Presbyterians have always worshipped God and put a priority on education. They were among the first settlers in the Arkansas Territory. The first Presbyterian church in Washington County was organized on August 30, 1828, at Cane Hill where a college was built and supervised by the church. This college was later moved to Clarksville where it operates as the University of the Ozarks. A second Presbyterian college was built and supervised by the Church in Batesville, Arkansas. It was originally named Arkansas College and is now known as Lyon College. The Presbyterian tradition and heritage of a strong belief in education helped to support the location of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Following the Civil War, Springdale grew in population. Early Presbyterian churches were formed and dissolved in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in Springdale. An early group of Missionary Society women carried on the Presbyterian activities until June 4, 1950, when the present church was formed.
The First Presbyterian Church of Springdale was organized on October 29, 1950, with 44 members. The Church was located at the corner of Quandt and Young Streets on land covered with grape vines. Reverend Charles Douglas Brewer was called as the first pastor.
Various church groups and individuals took over the many projects of the building program and carried them to completion with a fine spirit of cooperation and helpfulness. Twelve men donated over 2,000 hours of labor. The large stained glass of Jesus and the children now
located in the front of the sanctuary was donated by the members of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. Many faithful Christians gave their time, talent, and money to the successful building of the church.
As Springdale grew and the congregation expanded, a need for additional space became evident. A Long Range Planning Commission was appointed in May, 1981, to study the facilities and future needs of the congregation. The committee, after thorough research and study, recommended that the church relocate. Property was purchased on Gutensohn Road and plans developed for a new building. Ground-breaking services were held in September, 1985. The building was completed and used for the first time to worship God on May 4, 1986. A mortgage-burning service was held in September, 1987.
That building served the congregation well, but there was always the understanding that the facility was incomplete. Planning for the present sanctuary began with the appointment of a planning committee in 1988 followed by a building committee in 1990. A capital funds campaign was also conducted during that year. The congregation approved the building plans in December, 1990, and groundbreaking occurred in May, 1991. The present sanctuary was used for the first time on February 23, 1992 and dedicated on April 12 1992.
Nine pastors have served the church—The Reverends – C. Douglas Brewer, Dean H. Lewis, David F. Swartz, Elvin Crandell, Jimmie Lee Durden, William A. Rail, G. Richard Vogeley, Stewart Smith, and Kade Curry.
The weakness of this historical resume is that it deals only with the temporal, the physical, and the concrete, whereas, we all know, the chief concern of the Church is the spiritual welfare of each individual. It is our aim, as Presbyterians, to witness to our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, in Springdale, Arkansas.