200 East Second Street

First Presbyterian Church

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Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage

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First Presbyterian Church:

 

The First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Second and Elm Streets is believed to be the outstanding architectural example of its kind in northwest Ohio.

This well-known Perrysburg building, constructed at a cost of $5,200 in 1892, is worth a close look for it is a unique blend of the Stick and Gothic styles.

The Stick style represented a transition linking the preceding Gothic Revival with the subsequent Queen Anne, all three being adaptations of Medieval English building traditions. The Stick Style, most popular in this country between 1860 and the 1890s, stressed the raised wall surface itself as a decorative element rather than just doors, windows and cornices.

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200 East Second Street

Unfortunately, the original stick work which ran in horizontal, vertical and even diagonal directions has been covered by plain horizontal aluminum siding on the original walls. But remaining style characteristics are pleasantly visible in the decorative trusses and arches on the tower, gables and porches, and the steeply pitched gabled roof, and church officials have done a good job in recent years of preserving the building and its original details.

The original portion of the building, designed by architect Charles Sturgiss, was constructed some 17 years after a fire in 1875 destroyed the congregation's brick church building then located where Way Library now stands. The congregation was organized in 1834. For many years until the present building was constructed, worship services were held in Centennial Hall located upstairs in the south half of the brick building at the corner of Front Street and Louisiana Avenue.

The interior of the new building featured 32 antique oak pews and a frescoed cathedral ceiling supported by gently curved beam rafters. A colorful 14-foot-long stained Reamy glass window still faces the Second Street side and above this and in the gable along Elm Street are stained gothic-arched windows. These and other stained glass throughout the building are largely memorial gifts over the years.

Perhaps the most prominent exterior feature is the bell tower, which is illuminated at night to help highlight the trio of pointed lancet windows perforating each face of the tower.

Remodeling and alterations were made in 1952, in 1985 when the large addition was made at the rear and in 1991.

The pastor at the time of the building of the church was the venerable Reverend George A. Adams who was also largely responsible for the previous building that burned. He was born on Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts in 1821. He was educated at Oberlin College, after which he taught school before studying for the ministry. 

During the Civil War he served as chaplain of the 12th Ohio Cavalry in which a number of Perrysburg area men also served, but returned here to complete 47 years as pastor to the congregation. He died in 1903 at the age of 83, still the active pastor.

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