Sunday, May 22, 2011

First Presbyterian Church
Alameda, California

"Alameda is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island, and is adjacent to Oakland in the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Farm Island (also known as Harbor Bay) portion of the city is adjacent to the Oakland International Airport. At the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 72,259.

"The island that Alameda occupies was originally a peninsula connected to Oakland...The city was founded on June 6, 1853...Alameda became a charter city and adopted a council-manager government in 1916." (Link 1.)

"Preparations to organize the First Presbyterian Church of Alameda began in 1864 when all Protestants residing in hamlets of the Oakland peninsula known now as Alameda attended the Methodist church. By 1865, the Presbyterian Church had 12 charter members that were meeting in the schoolhouse, having paid their "rent" by purchasing a bell for the school. In 1867 Rev. Nash was installed as the first "non-traveling" pastor.

"Under Rev. Nash’s leadership, the purchase of land and erection of the first sanctuary building, then located at the current corner of Central and Versailles Avenues, was accomplished. The new church was dedicated on March 8, 1869 and the congregation grew quickly. A Sunday School building was added and soon as many as sixty children received their Christian education in the building. A parsonage was built nearby on Versailles to house a succession of pastors who led the congregation.

"By 1883, the church membership had outgrown the original sanctuary building. The city’s population center was expanding towards the western end of the peninsula and the sandy roads made travel difficult for new members to attend. These factors motivated the congregation members to begin raising funds to purchase land and build a new sanctuary in a more central location.

"Nearly 20 years later, land was purchased at what is now the corner of Santa Clara and Chestnut. Congregation member Henry H. Meyers, a prominent local architect, designed the new sanctuary building. Mr. Meyers had been part of the design team to create the plans for the Alameda City Hall built in 1895 and the Carnegie Library in 1902. Meyers chose a Grecian design that followed the design of Kings Chapel in Boston, Old Trinity of New York City and similar buildings in Paris. He fashioned the side elevations similar to the Boston Public Library.

Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Alameda
                                                                       Christmas 2005

"Rev. Frank Brush, having traveled to Italy, was instrumental in the inclusion of the beautiful stained glass windows similar to the ones he had seen in Italy. (Stained glass windows line both sides of the sanctuary.)

FPCA Window

1904 Stained Glass Window
(Link 2.)

"Under the direction of Mr. A. J. Burgner, an Elder and Trustee as well as a prominent local builder, the cornerstone was laid in September of 1903. (2001 Santa Clara Ave.) The completed sanctuary was dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1904. The beautiful sanctuary has been in continuous use since for social, cultural, and religious purposes. In 1977 the City of Alameda declared it an Alameda Historical Monument.

"In preparation of the sanctuary¹s centennial, the exterior of the sanctuary was painted and the stained glass windows were cleaned and repaired by the congregation in 2003. Partial funding provided by PROPOSITION 12 California Heritage Fund Grant Program was used to restore the church facade.

"Centennial celebrations were held at the beginning of September 2003 and culminating in a time capsule ceremony on Easter Sunday 2004.  Extensive interior renovations were completed in 2005." (Link 2.)

Photo: Top photo taken in February 2011 by Suzanne Wilson.
Thank you: To Sue, Office Manager at First Presbyterian Church, for the photos
                of  the  Sanctuary on Christmas 2005 and FPCA window.
Link 1:,_California
Link 2:



God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)

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