Old Alabama Town Church - Montgomery, AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member xptwo
N 32° 22.923 W 086° 18.204
16S E 565523 N 3582997
Quick Description: The former First Presbyterian Colored Church of Montgomery was built in 1885 for the black members of the original First Presbyterian Church, which included blacks on its rolls.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 6/17/2013 2:48:01 PM
Waymark Code: WMHAZE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 2

Long Description:
When Interstate 85 was planned, it was clear that this building was in the path. The congregation moved to a new facility in 1969, and the Landmarks Foundation acquired the building for preservation. It was moved from its original location at the corner of Stone Street and Cleveland Avenue and is now located in The Living Block section of Old Alabama Town.

The following description of the church and its history comes from Old Alabama Town: An Illustrated Guide by Mary Ann Neeley (Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 2002, pp. 46-47):

"From the founding of Montgomery's First Presbyterian Church in 1824, whites and blacks had worshiped together with the latter sitting in a gallery reserved for them. However, in the early 1880s, the African-American members requested a separate congregation which precipitated the construction of a church at the corner of Stone Street and Cleveland Avenue. Late in 1885 the writer of the Minutes of the Session reflected on the church building as being of "good style and comfortably furnished."

Although it was a simple one-room edifice, the new church did have a number of notable architectural features including long windows shielded by louvered shutters and handsome cornice moldings.

For several years, the white church kept close watch on the newer one, hiring black ministers to-preach. In 1888, however, at the request of the new congregation, the Session voted to "dismiss from this church the colored members that they might organize a church of their own officers and under the name of the First Presbyterian Colored Church of Montgomery."

In 1966 the black Central Alabama Presbytery dissolved, and the East Alabama Presbytery received the Cleveland Avenue Presbyterian Church under its jurisdiction. The Session then asked the Presbytery's Church Extension committee's assistance in purchasing or building a new church as 1-85 was beginning it path through Montgomery with a bridge passing almost directly over the Cleveland Avenue site. The congregation acquired a sanctuary at the corner of Goode and Wade Streets and renamed itself the Calvary Presbyterian Church. Dedication services took place on 19 January 1969.

Landmarks Foundation with the help of the Black Culture Preservation Committee, under the guidance of Dr. Zelia Evans, moved the church to Old Alabama Town for preservation. Needing old pews, the Foundation traded the modern ones then in the building for the present seats which originally served a small country congregation in a neighboring county.

On 4 December 1977, the Foundation dedicated the restored church citing its architectural and historical significance within the community. It continues to play a vital role within Old Alabama Town, symbolic of the religious life of this region."

Old Alabama Town is run by the Landmarks Foundation for the City of Montgomery. It is open Monday - Saturday and does charge for admission. The outside of the church can be seen from Columbus Street, but access is limited to those paying for admittance to the Old Alabama Town area. Tickets may be purchased at the Visitor Center at 301 Columbus Street.
Presbyterian Denomination: Vacant/Inactive

Status: Converted to other use

420 Columbus Street
Montgomery, AL USA

Date Built: 1885

Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]

Architect: Not listed

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