old Calvary Presbyterian Church was organized on April 23, 1849,
as a New School Presbyterian Congregation. New School Presbyterians
believed that missionary work should be interdenominational, with
different denominations, especially Congregationalists, sharing
the control and funding of missionary work. Old School Presbyterians
believed that missionary enterprises should be completely under
the control of Presbyterian boards and agencies. Eight members of
the Mount Zion Presbyterian Church of Cave Spring formed the Calvary
Presbyterian Church in Springfield. Later the church contained both
New School and Old School members.
The Presbyterian Church of Springfield (New School) was built at
the east side of South Jefferson Street between Elm and Walnut.
It was dedicated July 4, 1858. It was quite large and considered
to be the best church building in town until the Southern Methodists
built a new building in 1859.
Calvary Presbyterian Church was organized on August 28, 1860, as
an Old School congregation by 21 dissenters from the Presbyterian
Church of Springfield (New School). Reverend H.M. Painter was the
first pastor. The Civil War began shortly after the church was built
and most of the churches in Springfield suspended services and their
buildings were used by both Union and Confederate officials at different
times and for different purposes. The Calvary Presbyterian Church
was the only church in Springfield to continue regular services
during the Civil War.
In 1878 the Calvary congregation agreed to build a new church. They
purchased a site at St. Louis Street and Benton Avenue from John S.
Phelps, who was governor of Missouri at the time. The building was
ready for use in 1879, although it wasn't dedicated until March
19, 1882. This is the building portrayed in the postcard. It was
made of stone and red brick and it remained until the congregation
merged with the First Presbyterian Church in 1930. It then left
this building to move to the present site of First and Calvary Presbyterian
at Dollison Avenue and Cherry Street.