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Frozen In Time: First Presbyterian Church In St. Cloud [VIDEO]

First Presbyterian Church

ST. CLOUD — This week in our “Frozen In Time” series we stopped out to a local St. Cloud church almost as old as the City itself.

The First Presbyterian Church was established nearly 150 years ago back in 1864, the same time as the Civil War.

Reverend Elgy Campbell and his wife Mary moved to St. Cloud from Pennsylvania to open the congregation.

They had just ten members at the time making it the first Presbyterian church in St. Cloud. Ray Rowland has been a member of the church for more than 50 years.

He says the church was the first of its kind in the area, “it was the first Presbyterian church in the nation west of St. Paul. There was no other Presbyterian church between here and the west coast.”

Reverend Campbell also used the space to house St. Cloud’s first public school.

Rowland says at one time church membership was small enough where parking wasn’t a concern, “it used to be this church was kind of a neighborhood church. In fact, there was a time during the 20s and 30s where most of the members could walk to church.”

In 1878, groundbreaking for their current location along Fifth Avenue began. They raised the construction funds by selling chicken dinners.

Today the church maintains a stained glass window original to their first building and two church bells.

The bells were donated by married couples in 1918 and rang for the first time to celebrate the end of World War I.

The congregation plans to celebrate their 150th anniversary by hosting multiple events throughout the year that are open to the public.

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