HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI
Calvary Presbyterian Church
The 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.