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East Garden  John 3:16

Church picture at Gale and LindenOur History

The idea of the church that was to become known as First Presbyterian of River Forest developed in the home of the Charles E. Marbles on New Year's Day, 1887. Their friends, the Frank R. Ridells and the Walter H. Gales, had spent that holiday with them and before the day ended they had drawn up and signed a subscription paper to circulate "for the purpose of building and maintaining a new church of the Congregational or Presbyterian denomination."

With a grant of $300 from the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions to their credit, the committee approached Mrs. Harriet Steele, who had belonged to a Presbyterian church before coming to River Forest, and was the widow of Ashbelle Steele, the community's first permanent non-Native American settler. She gave them a free ten year lease to property at the southwest corner of Gale Avenue and Linden Street with the option to purchase it for $1,000 when the lease expired. The first regular Sunday service in the new building was held on July 31 at 7:45 p.m.


Church picture at Park and Oak

In 1891, the feasibility of enlarging the church was considered. Many felt that it would be better to build a larger church in a more central location, and so on March 5, 1892, the congregation voted to change the location of the church. The board of trustees was authorized to secure a lot in the vicinity of Park and Oak Streets and build a $10,000 church. The cornerstone was laid Sunday, May 5, 1894. On July 29 the first Sunday service was held in the lecture room and on November 25, 1894, the new church was dedicated.

Once again, the church experienced growing pains and the need for larger facilities. Church membership had increased to 306, Sunday School enrollment to 233. The Sunday School space was termed inadequate, seating capacity in the sanctuary was being taxed. The Soo Railroad ran across the back of the church property and 26 trains daily were passing over it, interfering with services and meetings. In addition, there were a building boom and population increase in the village, sure to be reflected in church enrollment.


First Presbyterian Church at present location

Ground was broken at the Quick and Lathrop site on June 8, 1924. On June 13, the firm of Guy and McClintock was authorized to start construction and on October 5 a cornerstone laying ceremony was held. Although the sanctuary was not completed until 1927, the wheelchair bluedecision was made to move into the new church in October, 1925, holding services in the Social Hall until the sanctuary was ready.  We did a major accessibility renovation in 2004.

God has richly blessed First Presbyterian of River Forest over the past 100+ years. It is our hope and prayer that we continue in faith to do the work and ministry of our Lord in the generations to come.

Last Published: March 16, 2011 3:08 PM
 wheelchair First Presbyterian Church of River Forest | 7551 Quick Ave | River Forest, IL 60305 | (708) 366-5822 | Contact Us | Site Map | Site Credits   facebk twitter youtubeinstagram