A Short History of First Presbyterian Church, Omaha & Central Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church and Central Presbyterian Church have been leaders in the Omaha Presbyterian Church Community since the mid 1800’s. Both churches have had a rich history in the city of Omaha and have parallels in their development.
The 1950’s brought an all time high in attendance to both churches. As time passed, attendance dwindled. The congregation discussed possibilities of how to save their church. They finally decided that merger with another church was the answer.
After visiting other Presbyterian Churches, it was decided in 2014 to merge with First Presbyterian Church, Omaha. Both churches approved the merger, and it became official on January 1, 2015. As a tagline to FPC, we are proud to be
~ Keeping Christ Central ~.
First Presbyterian Church of Omaha
In July, 1856, a Sunday school was organized in a private school room on Howard Street with the purpose that this would be the beginning of a Presbyterian church. This became “The Sunday School of the First Old School Presbyterian Church of Omaha City, Nebraska.” In June of 1857, this group began meeting in the Methodist Episcopal Church, which stood on Thirteenth Street.
In June, 1860, the current minister resigned, and the church practically dissolved. However on December 23, 1860, Rev. F.M. Dimmick was appointed to the church and he organized the Second Presbyterian Church of Omaha. The church was incorporated by special act of the Territorial Legislature, and approved January 11, 1861 with the name “The Second Presbyterian Church of Omaha City.” The name was changed in April, 1888 by a special act of the legislature to First Presbyterian Church of Omaha
17th and Dodge Streets
It was decided in 1864 to build a church. Land was purchased at 17th and Dodge for $1250. The building of the church was put on hold until the Civil War was over. The total cost of the building was about $30,000. The ladies of the church held a fair and festival to help raise money. It was decided to rent pews for permanent seating. This money was used to help pay for the church. The cost of the pews ranged from $25 to $100 a year.
34th and Farnam Streets
On January 21, 1914, at a congregational meeting, it was decided to move west and land was purchased at 34th and Farnam Streets. Construction began in the spring of 1915 and Peter Kiewit carried bricks to help his father’s construction company build the church. The dedication of the new building was March 11, 1917. In 1959, FPC had an all time high of 2188 members. In 2017, we will celebrate the building’s centennial and its congregation continuing to help and support our community as they did over 100 years ago.
Central Presbyterian Church
Central Presbyterian Church was organized in 1867. This new church purchased a small Swedish mission building on 17th and Dodge. Regular services were held and mission work was emphasized.
In 1893, with membership growing, a new church was built near the “outskirts mission” at 24th and Dodge. In 1898 the General Assembly met at this church with 250 delegates and many foreign missionaries attending. This was an important day for Central United!
The Church on Leavenworth
As the city moved westward, so did Central. In 1911, a lot was purchased at 55th and Leavenworth. The land was used to operate a Sabbath School. In 1925, the church membership was growing so a church was built at this location. The new building was completed in 1927 at a cost of $75,000. Over the years, many outstanding ministers preached and many attended church – the high point was 1400 members.
55th and Leavenworth
The church on Leavenworth is where the Central congregations celebrated their centennial year with the theme of “Remember and Rededicate,” and also in 2012 their 125th year. Since 1887, Central Presbyterian Church has a proud history of “Sharing the Gospel in the Heart of the City.” In 2014, due to declining membership, the congregation decided to merge with First Presbyterian Church.
With the January 1, 2015 merger complete, we go forward in faith, hope, love, ministry, and mission. We are ~ Keeping Christ Central ~.