The History of

First Presbyterian Church Longview

 

Our first look back in history is to Longview in 1871. One of the founders of our town, O.H. Methvin, deeded 100 acres of his land to the Southern Pacific Railroad so our town would flourish. These acres were in what is now the downtown area and included the block of land on which our church now stands.

Led by Dr. W.K. Marshall, the church was organized December 4, 1873. The Texas & Pacific Railroad gave land to four trustees of the Old School Presbyterian South on January 19, 1874 for the building of our first church.

Under the leadership of the first pastor, J.H. Wiggins, the church was completed in 1874. It was a one-room white frame building with a steeple. The original bell from this steeple still rings today.

During the remaining years of the 1800’s, seven pastors ministered to our church. In 1882 nine members, dismissed at their own request, formed the Alpine Presbyterian Church north of town.

The second church, built on the same site in 1900, was red brick, English Gothic, with two front entrances and a steeple to house our bell. During the 1930’s, the pastor was Reverend Robert Lowry Owen. His pastorate was marked by one of the most turbulent times in our church’s history, the great East Texas Oil Boom. The population increased drastically and schools and churches were overcrowded. Reverend Owen began a campaign for the planning and construction of a new and larger church.

On October 6, 1940, Dr. A.F. Fogartie laid the cornerstone for the church as we know it today. Dr. Fogartie led his congregation through World War II, sending many of our young men to war.

In 1947, Dr. T.H. Talbot came to lead our church. During this time, a new educational building was completed and dedicated in 1958, and the membership of our church increased to 1,000.

After sixteen years, Dr. Talbot was followed by Stephen Cook, whose ministry began in 1963. During his pastorate we saw the formation of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, the inclusion of women in all aspects of church government, and the welcoming of African- Americans to our congregation.

Our twentieth pastor was Dr. W.D. O'Neal. Throughout his eighteen years of faithful service, the sanctuary was remodeled and a balcony added. In 1981, the church was blessed with the lovely Crain Memorial Organ and in 1994, a Texas Historical Marker.

In 1996, we welcomed our twenty-first minister, Reverend Jonathan Jehorek, a young pastor with fresh ideas and deep beliefs who led us into the twenty-first century.

By 2008, we had grown in membership to the point where another addition to the church was added in the form of an extensive expansion of the Presbyterian Children’s Center preschool and kindergarten as well as a large new parlor and a multi-purpose space (Grace Hall) for gymnasium use, dinners, and large gatherings.

In 2014, Reverend Kendal Land was called to continue the traditions of FPC Longview.

 

For more history on First Presbyterian Church....download FPC_History.pdf

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Questions or comments: info@fpclongview.org