Founding and Early History

The First Presbyterian Church of Louisville was organized March 23, 1839, by the Rev. James A. Martin and Elder William Meek. The Rev. Martin was part owner and teacher of a school located where the Lutheran Church was later built. For a time, the newly organized church used this school for their services.

 

The lot on which our church now stands was purchased for $100.00. The church building was built in 1845 with Mr. S.W. Smyth as the contractor. Hand hewn beams are still part of the present structure.

 

The church bell was cast in 1851 in New York state for $100.00. It was shipped by water to New Orleans, then transported over land by an ox-team to Louisville, where it was hung in our steeple. In those days, it could be heard for five miles around and was used as a signal when there was a fire or death. It tolled a solemn warning in 1863 when Federal soldiers were approaching our town.

Pastors

Pastors serving during this period were: Rev. O.H. P. Smyth and Rev. M. Penden. In 1871, Rev. M.J. McLean was called and continued as pastor for 26 years. He was followed by Rev. W.F. Tims.

In 1920, soon after Rev. J.C. Watson began his pastorate here, our church was remodeled, and the membership doubled during his 23-year ministry.

 

Rev. J.V. Cobb and Rev. J.P. Simmons served from 1943 - 1950. In 1948, the annex was built. Rev. E.E. McPheeters, Rev. G.G. Bruce, Rev. Sam Lane, and Rev. Richard Curnow followed successively as pastors. In 1962, the Q.C. Young home was purchased and remodeled as a Sunday School Building.

 

Rev. Thomas A. Cook served as pastor from 1971-1984. During his pastorate, in 1977, the Family Life Building was constructed.

Rev. Dr. Robert G. Schwanebeck, Jr. served as pastor from 1985 - 2000.

 

Rev. Samuel A. Smith served as pastor from 2002 to 2005.

 

Rev. Scott Phillips served as pastor from 2006 to 2022.

 

Rev. Heath Cross was called to be pastor in May of 2023 and is our current pastor. He is the seventeenth senior pastor in the church’s 184 year history. 

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In 1989, we celebrated our sesquicentennial anniversary at our Easter Service. Several changes in the physical appearance of our church were made. Some of these changes included landscaping the grounds, the installation of new windows in the educational section of the church, and the renovation of the Pastor’s Office.

 

In 1993, the church sanctuary received renovations in the choir area. A Grand Piano was donated by the Fair family in memory of Mary Louise Fair, who served as church organist for many years.

 

In 1996, the main room in the Family Life Building was doubled in size, and a new wing was added which included Sunday School rooms, a nursery, and an exercise room. Equipment for the exercise room was donated by the family of Kittye Sue Harris. The kitchen was remodeled at that time as well. Kitchen equipment was donated by E. Grady Jolly in memory of his mother, Kathleen Jolly. The debt for the Family Life Building was paid within five years. The Family Life Building was renovated and updated during the summer of 2023.

 

Mrs. Annie Beth Davis, Church Historian for more than a half century, wrote, “In this church there has always been a clinging to ideals down from our forefathers whose example of piety and devotion we can well emulate. The foundation laid by them...is the basis of the progress that has been made through the years and the many privileges we enjoy today - things of which they never dreamed.”


May this challenge us to go forward with the good leadership we have today and merit the words of God to the Church of Thyatira: “I know your deeds; and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and your deeds of late are greater than at first.”

175th Anniversary


In 2014, FPC Louisville celebrated our 175th Anniversary. To view the bulletin for that service, click the link below.


175th anniversary bulletin