Sunday, April 04, 2010

Westminster Presbyterian Church - Auburn NY

Westminster Presbyterian Church

On October 21, 1861, Second Presbyterian Church dismissed the pastor, Rev. Henry Fowler, for his abolitionist activities, which included praying for the soul of John Brown.

Stained Glass Window
Behind altar - west side of sanctuary

After several months of soul-searching, abolitionist supporters of Rev. Fowler organized the Central Presbyterian Church of Auburn. These dissidents began the construction of a church on the corner of William and Genesee called the Basement Chapel.

Section of Stained Glass Window

Unable to purchase an adjacent lot, the church members bought the present church site on William Street from William Henry Seward, Sr.. The church building was dedicated in 1870. The facade of the church was designed by Julius A. Schweinfurth, a local architect.

Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center

(Years later Schweinfurth would donate the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center to the City of Auburn.)

Westminster Presbyterian Church reflects three congregations from the past. The original congregation of Central Presbyterian reunited with Second Presbyterian Church in 1921. Second Presbyterian congregation gave up their church building, which stood where the Auburn Schine Theater is today, and the new congregation became Second Presbyterian Church. The Skinner organ was installed in 1926.

In 1932 a three-story education building was constructed next to the church.

In 1952 the women of the church organized the Weekday Nursery School in this building. The school still operates today and is Auburn's oldest preschool program.

In 1968, the final merger occurred. Second Presbyterian and Westminster Presbyterian merged and the congregation became Westminster.

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