The First Presbyterian Church of Washington was officially founded in 1793 after on-going attempts in the previous five years to receive permission from the Redstone Presbytery. The congregation first met in a stone academy, that presently houses administrative offices for Washington and Jefferson College, used then for both educational purposes and religious worship. Dr. Matthew Brown, President of Washington College, was the first minister. The ministers and members have traditionally been prominent within the Presbyterian denomination and have actively participated in community affairs.

The congregation later met in a local tavern and the courthouse, before building a church on Strawberry Avenue. In 1851, that building was sold to the Hays Carriage Company. An original print of the converted building can be seen in the Fellowship Hall at the bottom of the the Narthex steps. Copies of the print can be acquired through the church office.

A new church was built on the present site in 1851. The land was originally deeded to George and Martha Washington, but reverted back to the original owners, the Hough family. This "51" building, of Greek Revival Architecture, seated 900 persons. In the spring of 1868, building deficiencies required that the structure be taken down to the foundation and a third church built. Some of the original doors, stair rails, and door frames can be seen in the Narthex. The Chandelier in the sanctuary, originally lighted be eighteen gas burners, was designed by a local, unknown artist to depict local wild flowers. The chimney shades are of Duncan Miller glass.

In 1868, the education wing, originally called "The Chapel" was built. Endowed by the estate of Mr. Simeon Huggins, an African American member of First Presbyterian Church, it was to serve both as a Sabbath School, and as a place to educate children unable to attend private school. It was originally intended to provide a "Sunday School" for the teaching of the 3-"R's" to local children unable to attend private academies or not encouraged to attend public school, as well as a place for Sabbath School.The majority of those students were either women or african americans.

First Presbyterian Church is committed to be supportive and inclusive of all persons. As a lifetime member of the NAACP, the church has been recognized in Washington and Greene Counties for its commitment to empowering the poor. TheCircle Food Pantry, now housed in the former First United Presbyterian Church building (Now called The Bible Chapel) is presently administered by a member of FPC church and had its inception in our social hall through the efforts of the Martha Circle of Presbyterian Women.

FPC is a member of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and has historically been committed to the welcoming presence of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Other sources of historical information about the church

Quarter-Century Celebration: First Presbyterian Church, Washington, PA
Sermons, Addresses and Proceedings Connected with the completion of The Twenty-Fifth Year
Of the Pastorate of Rev. James. I. Brownson, D.D., In the First Presbyterian Church Of Washington, PA


History of the Presbytery of Washington

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