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Downtown Presbyterian Church

Downtown Presbyterian Church



Presbyterians have worshiped at the corner of Fifth and Church since 1814. In that year the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville built their first structure. After the Battle of New Orleans, the State of Tennessee presented General Andrew Jackson with a ceremonial sword on the front steps of the church. It survived until a fire destroyed it in 1832.

Rebuilding in that year, on the same site, the second building hosted the Inauguration of James K. Polk as Governor of Tennessee. That building burned down in 1848. The congregation then hired the Philadelphia architect William Strickland, who was in Tennessee to design and supervise the construction of the Tennessee State Capitol building, to design the present building.

During the Civil War the building was seized by the United States government, and used as a hospital. Receiving reparations after the war, the congregation began the process of finishing the interior and exterior of the structure. When it was built, the congregation had only about 350 members, but they had built a space to seat over 1000 and ran out of money to finish the building. The columns were put in place in 1871, as well as the entablature. In 1880, the interior was reconfigured and decorated.

The organ was enlarged in 1914, to 2,100 pipes, with an antiphonal organ and chimes. During the great floods of 1927 and 1937, flood victims were sheltered in the church. Soldiers on leave in Nashville during World War II slept in the church by the thousands during

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Downtown Presbyterian Church

154 5th Ave North, Nashville, TN 37219


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