First Presbyterian Church

4
City/Town: Fordyce
Location Class: Church
Year Built: 1912
Year Abandoned:
Status: National Register of Historic Places
Photographer: Ginger BeckJanet JenningsAAR Supporting Material

The First Presbyterian Church of Fordyce is important both for the history of its congregation and the significance of its talented designer.

The First Presbyterian Church was organized in August, 1883, as which time a church bell was presented to the congregation by Colonel Fordyce of St. Louis, Missouri, as it was the first church organized within the city limits of the new town named in his honor. Founded with only six charter members, the congregation had increased to 88 by 1899, the congregation first occupied a white frame building which sat at the corner of Third and Oak Streets.

After selling this building to the Christian Church, the First Presbyterian congregation met in a brick building located at Fifth and Main Streets. The third and present church was built in 1912. Designed by Reuben Harrison Hunt (1362-19371, a noted architect from Tennessee, the First Presbyterian Church  is a well-preserved example of this important designer’s ecclesiastical work.

Considered one of Tennessee’s most significant architects, Hunt was the subject of a thematic nomination to the National Register in 1979 prepared by the Tennessee Historic Commission. Hunt most frequently designed churches, educational and public buildings, often in the Gothic Revival style. Though he had little formal architectural training, he designed his first major project, the First Baptist Church in Chattanooga, at the age of 24. From that time on, Hunt designed numerous brick and stone churches throughout the South, of which the First Presbyterian Church is representative.

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Historical Fordyce now has control of the building, which is in need of repair due to roof leaks and settling. This building is owned and monitored; do not attempt to access.

4 Comments

  1. We used to service/maintain the little pipe organ here at First Presbyterian Church back in the mid-1980's, and even at that time it felt like things had already "bloomed". I remember a particular service call on an late afternoon, as the sun was beaming through the stained glass, doing our best to keep the little instrument going.

    R. H. Hunt was in important architect of the era and is responsible for the design of some very large and impressive ecclesiastical work, so it is nice to see this smaller example still standing. I hope that another use can be found for it, one which respects it honorable past…but this is a very difficult task. Do your best to keep the water, and scrappers, away from it.

    Thanks for sharing these images.

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