First Presbyterian Church

Of Burlington, Iowa

Our History is where we came from

In the begining...

God created the Heavens and the Earth. Then, many years of important stuff happened and the First Presbyterian Church of Burlington, IA was founded in 1836.

Our church was founded by Reverand Launcelot Bell. During the first seven years of its existence, First Presbyterian Church had no building. Our members held worship services in their homes.

In 1845, the church reorganized and purchased the lot for the first building. This is the site of our church to the present day. That first buidling was completed in 1848 at a cost of $4,000, built with 107,000 bricks and lit by tallow candles. In the 1860's the church was enlarged.


Our Current Building

Our present building, modified Gothic Revival style, was built in 1888 using Iowa limestone, cost $42,000 to complete. The huge open bell tower is 120 feet high. Numerous stained glass windows throughout the church vary in size with the largest being 22-1/2 feet high by 14 feet wide. The sanctuary windows (three of that size and several smaller ones) are exceptionally beautiful and valued at over one million dollars.

In 1900, a fire damaged the interior and roof. After repairs were made, an original skylit cupola was not replaced, and a chimney and two small spires from the east side of the building were removed.

During 1950-'51, extensive remodeling of the church resulted in the addition of Edwards Chapel, as well as other major interior and exterior modification. The Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ (a memorial to F.A. and Lucy P. Smith) was also installed.

In the 1960s and '70s, Westminister Presbyterian and First Presbyterian congregations merged. This unification was complete by 1976 with the sale of the Westminister Church building. In 1996, the merger of First Presbyterian and Faith Presbyterian was completed.

Our stained glass dindows in the sanctuary were completely restored and re-leaded in 1997-'98. And a few years later, in 2001, the office area was renovated, with some remodeling in Fellowhip Hall.