First Presbyterian Church
200 North 7th Street
Paducah, KY 42001
Hours of Operation:
9:30 Sunday School for All Ages 10:45 Worship Service 4:30 Covenant Choir 5:30 Youth Group 6:00 Handbell Choir
On October 29, 1842, three weeks after the city streets were laid out by William Clark, brother of George Rogers Clark, the Reverend Wheeler Campbell met with a small group of people in the home of his brother, Judge James Campbell, and founded the First Presbyterian Church of Paducah. Judge Campbell and G. A. Flournoy were elected ruling elders. Services were held in the homes of the members through the winter and then in McCracken County Court House for approximately five years.
The first church building was erected in 1848 on South Third Street near Kentucky Avenue. The first service in the new church was the funeral of the Reverend Campbell. He was only 45 years old and was buried beneath the sanctuary. He was later moved to Mt. Kenton Cemetery.
The second church building was completed in 1888 on the present site at Seventh and Jefferson. Forty-four years later, on the night of January 29, 1932, that building was destroyed by fire.
The present building, built on the same site, was designed by the Memphis architect George Awsumb in the Oxford Gothic style and constructed of five kinds of rubble stone with a roof of Vermont slate. Classic stained glass windows, depicting prominent biblical characters and many of the furnishings were memorial gifts from members. The hand carved wood in the chancel was imported from France. Dedication services were held on December 3, 1933.
An educational wing was added in 1958 featuring a fellowship hall and dining area, a kitchen and classrooms. A cloistered walk connects the new addition to the church proper and encloses a garden court planted with memorial gifts of dogwood trees and azaleas. In 1975 a carillon was contributed and in 1985 the twenty-four rank Casavant Freres pipe organ was installed.
Behind the church sits the Buddenbaum House, reported to be one of the oldest houses in the city of Paducah. It was restored by members of the church and currently serves as office space for the Bellewood Homes for children.
Mission efforts of this congregation have been recorded as follows:
1853 – The Jersey Mission, 3rd and George Street and Mizpah Mission – Mizpah Presbyterian Church, 1357 South 6th Street.
1924 – The Brown Street Mission – Calvary Presbyterian Church, South Beltline.
1954 – The Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, Lone Oak Road & Highland Blvd.
1969 – Forest Hills, Mizpah, and Calvary merged to form the United Central Presbyterian Church, in the Mizpah building on South 6th.
One of the city's first weekday kindergartens was held in this church from 1959 – 1970.
Twenty ministers have served First Presbyterian Church since its beginnings. Its leadership has stood in the community as a symbol of those worshipers who seek to know Him and make Him known.