First Presbyterian Church of Auburn New York was organized on July 14, 1811 in the long room of the Center House in Hardenbergh's Corners, incorporated as Auburn in 1815. At once the church "began a work so inspired that its effect was immediately felt" (Rev. William H. Hubbard), initially establishing the public school on land donated by a trustee.
In 1815 the church began work on a house of worship located at the corner of Franklin and North Streets, where the church stood from 1817 to 1973. The church outgrew this colonial church and replaced it with a limestone structure.
The church donated the colonial structure to the Lansing Street Presbyterian Mission School. The building was dismantled and moved up the hill to land owned by Elder James Seymour, where it was rebuilt in 1869 as a smaller structure. The building, much enlarged, still stands, the oldest church building in Auburn. It is the home of the Calvary Food Pantry, the Unity House Drop-in Center, and AME Zion Church.
The Arch of the Old First Church at 90 Franklin Today
This 1907 postcard shows the limestone structure on North Street.
First Presbyterian Church Auburn NY 1869 to 1973
The steeple of the limestone church was struck by lightning in 1947 and rebuilt in 1948, but it did not survive. In April, 1973 the steeple was struck again and collapsed. The church was so badly damaged that it was demolished. After much deliberation the congregation built a modern church at 112 South Street, which is used today. In 1976, the church purchased the Case Mansion next door, to sustain Unity House.
First Presbyterian Church Auburn NY 1975
In 1975, the Case Mansion sheltered 24 disabled men and their volunteer caregivers. Rev. Dennis Haines, pastor from 1975 to 1995, led the congregation and the Presbytery to incorporate the program, find an executive director, and secure all the approvals needed to operate mental health services in New York state. Today Unity House serves more than 700 clients a day in several counties. The Case Mansion is now being re-designed as Presbyterian retreat and event center providing hospitality and spiritual nurture for those seeking God's wholeness. Members provide significant volunteer support to the Case Mansion ministry and Unity House, as well as to the Calvary Food Pantry, and to other organizations, including an Alzheimers support service started by a member.
This work continues a long tradition. From the beginning First Presbyterian Church has had a profound impact on the local community and the worldwide Presbyterian community.
You are invited to the church for worship services Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM and for activities throughout the week. Please join in this more than 200-year tradition of faith, service, and fellowship.