Our History

How it all started...

On July 6, 1839, in the home of Stephen Whicher, the Reverend Mr. John Stocker organized the First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, IA, now known as Muscatine. The American Home Missionary Society supported this small congregation at first. In 1840 the Presbytery of Iowa was organized in "Bloomington."

On February 2, 1842 the Rev. John Stocker officially became the first pastor. At first the congregation did not have a building of its own and they worshiped in a building called the People's Church, which was a union meeting house, a building occupied by Trinity Episcopal and the Masons, and a log school house.

The congregation erected its first church building in 1849 when the Rev. John Hudson was the pastor. The building, which also served as a school, cost about $4,000, and measured 35 by 40 feet. It was located on Mulberry Street between Third and Fourth Streets. The first Iowa Synod in the Presbyterian Church was organized here in 1852. By 1856 the congregation outgrew the building and plans were made for a new one.
The present church building was built and dedicated in 1859 at the corner of Iowa Avenue and Fourth Street. The dedicatory address was delivered by the Rev. W.S. Plummer, D.D., of the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

"A building of plain Gothic style...to seat about 600 persons," erected on the corner of 4th and Iowa was begun in 1855 and completed in 1859. A pipe organ was added in 1869. In 1915 the sanctuary was remodeled and a wing was added which included kitchenette, parlor, assembly room, gymnasium, furnace, and boiler room, and rooms for Sunday School classes. The building is a simple, well-proportioned example of mid-19th century Gothic Revival architecture. It is particularly noteworthy for the remarkable harmony of the entire complex, the two parts of which were built nearly 50 years apart.

Expanding the vision...

In 1976 the building was listed as an American Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Site. On September 29, 1977 the structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Several renovations have occurred over the years. In 1987, work was completed to improve traffic flow, add air conditioning and a sound system, improve accessibility, and bring the building in compliance with fire and safety codes. In 2004 a major sanctuary renovation was completed. In 2012 the parlor was renovated and became known as the Gathering Room.

Today, over 180 years later, First Presbyterian Church continues to be a vibrant congregation in the heart of Muscatine, IA.

Be a part of our history...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 10:30 a.m.