First Presbyterian Church

320 Sixth Avenue Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Architecture Tour/First Presbyterian Church
VAMONDE Pittsburgh
Written By VAMONDE Pittsburgh

First Presbyterian Church

An awe-inspiring presence in the heart of Pittsburgh, the First Presbyterian Church was reportedly founded around 1773 with the original church being merely a log cabin. The massive Gothic structure now in its place was dedicated April 16, 1905.

First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh is one of the oldest Protestant sects west of the Allegheny Mountains. After the British defeated the French at Fort Duquesne in the French and Indian War, a small group of Presbyterians gathered to give thanks for the victory. With the development of Pittsburgh, the church followed. As membership increased, the congregation constructed a second building of yellow brick. In 1853, the first Gothic-designed building took its place and was used for 50 years until 1903 when development began for what visitors now see as the church.

"The Church in the Heart of the City with the City in its Heart!" - First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh

Another beautiful aspect of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh is its organ. The 4-manual, 77 rank instrument built by Casavant Freres in 1988 contains nearly 4,400 individual pipes. Check out below how to work the incredible instrument.

The church also houses 14 memorial stained-glass windows, 13 of which created by Frederick Wilson, a well-known designer at the studio. Each was carefully crafted to reach 26 feet in height and 7.5 feet in width. The gorgeous scenes are notably depicted to match their placement. The lower sections of the windows contain images associated with earth, and the upper portions are adorned with angels. Aside from these symbolic windows, the church possesses some 253 other stained and leaded glass windows.

As a historic landmark, the First Presbyterian Church offers tours to the public throughout the week.

Cover image credit: Marie Bellando-Mitjans on Unsplash

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