1420 Spring Street
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church of St. Helena was organized in 1863 on Spring Street. In 1873, the church was damaged by a fire set by an arsonist. The following year, the church was again set alight and burned to the ground and the congregation disbanded. St. Helena Presbyterian Church was organized May 30, 1874, by the Reverend James Mitchell, claiming the same site. Services were temporarily held at the Sharon Baptist Church on Church Street. The building we see today was completed and dedicated on January 30, 1876. It has been a landmark in the community since then when the steeple of the frame Gothic style church could be seen throughout the small town.
Resting on a stone foundation, the frame church originally was rectangular with a gable roof and the entry and steeple to one corner. Shiplap siding sheaths the exterior, and narrow pointed arch windows extend along the side wall. Note the hood molds of the Gothic windows. In 1875, an 880-lb bell was installed in the steeple and the dedication took place on January 30, 1876. In 1885, Westminster Hall, the lecture hall, was built perpendicular to the rear gable end of the church by local builders. In 1954, the sanctuary was renovated and in 1970, repairs were made to the church steeple, but essentially the original design fabric has been retained.
In 1985, an organ from Austria replaced the church’s electric Hammond organ. It arrived disassembled in crates and it took 5 craftsmen, who accompanied the organ from Austria, to erect it in the sanctuary. The St. Helena Family Center (next door) was once the pastor’s residence. The First Presbyterian Church has held Sunday services for over 140 years.