The nucleus of the First Presbyterian Church in Geneseo was sixteen members chartered by the Presbytery of Rock River on Sunday, November 2, 1863. After a period of meeting in individual homes, the congregation moved in October of 1864 to a small wooden structure across the street from the current building. Under the leadership of its first installed pastor–the Rev. John Campbell Barr–the rapidly-growing congregation moved “with dispatch” to construct a brick and stone sanctuary at our current site. Constructed during 1866-67, the local paper printed “The edifice is capable of seating 350 persons. It is heated with a furnace. The windows – Gothic in form – are beautifully stained glass through which the light comes toned and mellowed, and when the ceiling and walls shall be frescoed, and the pews are finished, it will greatly exceed in beauty and taste any church edifice in the city.”
Major remodeling will always be a part of our story of almost 150 years. The original log cabin gave way to a manse for the pastor’s family in 1906. In 1916 a pipe organ replaced the original large pump model and it, too gave way to an electronic organ in 1948 when the whole chancel received a face-lift. In 1917, during the pastorate of the Rev. Dr. John Turner Hood, the east side of the building was remodeled to include a balcony Sunday School wing of twenty six classrooms and alcoves. The sanctuary also added new stained glass windows.
The 1950s brought an extensive renovation with an exterior of Nu-Stone, a classroom reorganization, a new kitchen and new plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. An enclosed entryway was constructed on the front of the building in 1978-79, which also provided a new classroom and pastor’s study. On the cutting edge of handicapped accessibility, the church added a chair lift in 1980, and improved it in 1992.
Our current worship space is the result of a total makeover in 1995, offering us a much friendlier and flexible space.