A Brief History

In 1773, the McAfee brothers from Virginia crossed the Kentucky River and brought a Presbyterian presence to the site that was to become the town of Frankfort. Although Presbyterian churches were established in the outlying areas as early as 1795, it was not until 1815 that the First Presbyterian Church of Frankfort was organized.

Earlier, in 1810, and in conjunction with a private boys' school, the establishment of the first "Sabbath school" west of the Allegheny Mountains is credited to Margaretta Mason Brown, daughter of a Presbyterian minister and wife of the Honorable John Brown. In 1819, Mrs. Brown organized a "Sabbath school" for girls and the classes were often held in the garden of Mrs. Brown's home, "Liberty Hall," a well-known Frankfort landmark.

The original First Presbyterian Church, also the first denominational church building in Frankfort, was built on Wapping Street in 1824. Out growing this building, the property was sold to members of the Catholic community in the 1840's. A new building at 416 West Main Street was constructed and the congregation moved into the new church in 1849.

The Civil Wars brought deep division among Presbyterians in Kentucky; and during this period, the pastor and Session of First Presbyterian Church were "uncompromising in their adherence to the (United States) government." It was not until 1983 that the formerly divided denomination merged to become the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

In 1914, the S. French Hoge Memorial Chapel began as an extra room; and, in 1954, this room was remodeled and expanded into the present chapel. During the years 1936 to 1940, a completed renovation of the sanctuary building took place. An elevator was installed in 1951; and, in 1954, the church garden was dedicated. Estate funds left to the church by W. Pruett Graham were used to construct the Christian Education Building and the cloister which joins it to the sanctuary building in 1958-1959.

Then, in 1962, the Weekday Community Preschool was established as a mission for the community and was housed in the Christian Education Building. The school began the year with 4 children. In 1963, Frankfort City School District announced the opening of a kindergarten at First Presbyterian Church in the Education Building. After 15 years, in 1978, the kindergarten program at the church was closed due to the mandate of kindergarten classes for the community. The Preschool celebrated its 50thyear anniversary in 2014 and today enrolls 80 preschool students.

In 1999, the church undertook major repairs to the massive Norman Tower, a landmark component of the church. This major undertaking founded the church's intension to remain present as a downtown church. Ten years later, the Christian Education Building underwent remodeling and was rededicated in 2009.

Through the years, First Presbyterian Church has historically and continually been a special presence in the life of this community. 2015 marks the 200th year of the founding of the church. God has richly blessed Frankfort First Presbyterian Church. Thanks be to God for a treasured past and for a promising future.