HISTORY OF THE CHURCH
During the month of February in the year of our Lord 1856, a group of nine persons gathered to form a congregation of the Presbyterian Church for the Village of Fostoria. The Methodist Episcopal Church afforded the fast growing Presbyterians the opportunity to use their building for worship on Sunday afternoons. The new congregation was officially accepted by the Presbytery of Maumee on September 5th of that year.
By 1858 the Presbyterians were ready to have a building of their own. Thanks to the donation of Marcus P. Skinner, the church acquired two lots at 340 W. Fremont St. and, in 1859, began construction of a
new brick building. The total cost was $10,000.
The church continued to grow and, by the late 1880’s, the “old” church, which was less than 30 years old, was found to be inadequate for their needs and plans were formulated to build a new building at the
corner of Perry and W. Fremont Streets. construction began in 1889 and the building was officially dedicated in 1891, although some work remained to be completed. The old brick church was sold to a Baptist
congregation. The total cost of the new church was approximately $43,000. The mortgage was burned on May 6, 1902.
The stained glass in the new building, with the exception of the King’s Daughters’ window overlooking the west balcony which was a donation to the church, cost the amazing sum of $1,200. The large Anchor Cross window and matching Cross and Crown window were unique even in that day. The organ in the new building was a twenty-nine rank instrument built by the Farrand-Votey Organ Company.
In 1911 a manse was erected on the lot next to the church building. The manse cost approximately $7,500, much of which was raised through the efforts of the Ladies Aid Society.
Between 1926 and 1929 a second floor was built over what King's Daughters’ window is now the Chapel Parlor. This area now includes the Junior in west balcony and Senior High Rooms.
In 1955, an eight-foot stainless steel cross was placed on top of the bell tower by A. Gordon Gray in memory of his parents. This cross can be seen throughout the community and is the first glimpse of the church one receives coming into town from the south. This installation also marked the beginning of another building program.
By 1956, after two World Wars and a Great Depression, it had become evident that some changes needed to be made in the building. Since 1956 also marked the centennial of the founding of the church, a major program was proposed and adopted. The organ, which had been in place since 1891, was replaced by a three manual 42 rank Schantz Organ and the front of the sanctuary was redesigned to include a "split chancel" and a reredos as well as a modern choir loft. The total cost was $55,000.
In 1960 another renovation saw the completion of what is now the Narthex but then included offices as well as a ground level entry to the building. This project, which was to be the first of four, also included a new furnace and the renovation of the basement of the church. This time the total costs rose to $115,900. Soon afterward, the Chapel Parlor was redecorated and a kitchenette was installed. This project was the result of a gift by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Kaubisch.
By 1974 the needs of the Christian Education program were such that phases two three and tour of the 1960 renovation were redesigned to encompass one major building program. Due to the generous bequest of Mrs. Gladys Andes Harrison and the efforts of the congregation an educational wing, complete with church offices, gym and a new kitchen, was added at the cost of $565,000. This building was completed in 1977.
During the 1980's, several improvements were made to both the new and the old buildings. A Memorial Courtyard was added in the space between the two buildings, a stained glass window was added as a family memorial by the Cotton and Hanover families, and the narthex was remodeled with a bequest from the Hopkins family.
Over the 134 year history of the church, twenty-three pastors have served the church, but the real heart and soul of the church is to be found in the lives of the countless saints who gave of themselves that the Kingdom of God and of God's Son, our lord Jesus Christ, might be furthered in the world. It is a people called the church who give life to bricks, stone, and mortar, but it is possible to say that those same brings, stones, and mortar bind a people together in common ministry.
HISTORY OF THE COMMUNITY
Fostoria is a city of about 13,441 residents, located at the convergence of Hancock, Seneca, and Wood counties in Northwest Ohio. It is approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of Toledo and 90 miles (140 km) north of Columbus.
Established in 1854, Fostoria is best known for its famous glass production years and for its abundant rail traffic and business that continues today. Today, the Fostoria Rail Preservation Society is still very active in Fostoria, as well as the Fostoria Glass Heritage Gallery and Association.
Information courtesy of Fostoriaohio.gov.