Doors Open Pittsburgh: Featuring First Presbyterian Church

As part of DOORS OPEN Pittsburgh, an annual two-day event that provides unprecedented access to buildings around the city, we are featuring 20 of the many buildings participating.

Today’s building is First Presbyterian Church on 6th Avenue downtown.

First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh was incorporated by an Act of the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on September 29, 1787. In that same year, 2.5 lots of ground-originally used as an Indian burial ground-were deeded to the congregation by the heirs of William Penn. On this land the church’s first building was constructed, using the material of the day-logs. As membership grew, the second building—this one of yellow brick-was erected in 1805 in a unique way. The new structure was put up around the small log church, and services could continue in the little log cabin while progress was made on the new structure! Upon completion, the logs were handed out through the windows and doors for use elsewhere in this early “frontier town.” This building served until 1853 when an even larger Gothic style building designed by Charles Bartberger was erected and used for 50 years.

?In 1903, the cornerstone was laid for the present building (the fourth), designed in a Gothic Revival style by Theophilus Parsons Chandler, a prolific architect of churches, mansions, bridges, train stations, a mausoleum and even the bear pits and monkey house at the Philadelphia Zoo. A leader in the architecture of churches, he later founded the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Architecture. which was dedicated on Palm Sunday, April 16, 1905.

*History from First Presbyterian Church web site.

You can take a virtual tour of this buidling, brought to you exclusively by Pittsburgh Beautiful, right here.


For tickets to this outstanding event, you can visit Doors Open Pittsburgh here.

Buildings already featured here on Pittsburgh Beautiful:

Byers Hall

Allegheny HYP Club

Boggs Manion : The Inn on the Mexican War Streets

Alphabet City Building

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

The Oliver Building

EQT Plaza

The Engineer’s Society

The Pennsylvanian

The Priory Hotel

First Presbyterian Church

William Penn Snyder House

Union Trust Building

Koppers Building

Dollar Bank on Fourth Avenue

Speakeasy at the Omni William Penn

The Grant Building

PPG Place

Penn Brewery


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