Brookline Boulevard United Presbyterian
Church History

Brookline United Presbyterian Church - 2004

The United Presbyterian Church, on Brookline Boulevard, was originally built in 1912, and expanded in 1924 and 1953. The mission celebrated it's 110th Anniversary in 2010. The church, located at the intersection of Brookline Boulevard, Queensboro and Chelton celebrates it's 100th anniversary on Brookline in 2013. The magnificent structure is one of the most iconic buildings along Brookline Boulevard.

The Brookline Presbyterian Mission dates back to December 9, 1900, when Mr. C.F. Mulholland of Bell House, West Liberty, suggested to his pastor, Robert H. Hood, that a Mission Sabbath House be organized to provide Christian instruction for the neighborhood children. Thirty-five young persons responded and a Sabbath School was started with Mr. Mulholland as Superintendant.

The first building used by the Mission was an old blacksmith shop located near the south entrance to the yet unheard of Liberty Tunnels. A small chapel was built nearby in 1902, and formally dedicated on June 11, 1903. Due to the repid growth of the area, the Mission was forced to relocate to West Liberty Public School in January, 1907.

Original Church Building - 1907
West Liberty U.P. Church
The West Liberty United Presbyterian Church building in 1907.

A formal congregation was established a few weeks later. Services were held in the West Liberty public school building until March, 1908, when the "Knowlson M.C. Church", at the corner of West Liberty Avenue and Brookline Boulevard, was purchased and renovated. At this time the Mission was known as the West Liberty United Presbyterian Church.

West Liberty United Presbyterian Church
The former West Liberty United Presbyterian Church, located above the intersection
of Brookline Boulevard and West Liberty Avenue, shown here in 1915.

The growth of the congregation was impeded by the unfavorable location of the church, and in 1911 the Mission took steps to find a new place to worship. A location was soon agreed upon, and it was decided that a new church would be built along Brookline Boulevard, at the intersection with Queensboro Avenue and Chelton Avenue.

The present lot was purchased in 1911 for $4050. The Knowlson Church continued to be used for services while the new church was constructed. It would be a small stone structure which is now considered the Old Chapel. In May 1912, the congregation voted to change the name to the Brookline Boulevard United Presbyterian Church. In June 1912, an additional adjacent lot was purchased for $3500.

Original Stone Chapel - 1912
The original Stone Chapel, constructed in 1912. This small chapel comprises
the inside of the expanded United Presbyterian Church, built in 1913.

The original cornerstone was laid on September 29, 1912, and the new building dedicated on February 13, 1913. The Old Chapel stood alone for eleven years, until such time when the increasing growth of the Mission called for an expanded sanctuary. In 1924, the cornerstone was laid for a large addition, known as the New Santuary. The stunning addition was built around the Old Chapel, which was incorporated into the new structure.

The facade of the enlarged church featured three prominent red doors at the top of a stone stairway. For the next twenty-nine years the New Sanctuary and Old Chapel served the continually enlarging Mission. A further expansion was soon needed to accomodate the growing educational needs of the Mission's youth.

Artists conception of United
Presbyterian expansion - 1952
Artist's Conception of the United Presbyterian Church and the new Educational Wing in 1952.

In 1953, at a total cost of $175,000, construction began on the new Christian Education Wing. The cornerstone was dedicated and installed by Reverend Stillman Alan Foster. The new wing was the final building addition to the church. Recent upgrades include a handicapped ramp, installed in the 1980s and some foundation work in the 1990s.

Laying the second cornerstone at United
 Presbyterian Church - 1953
The laying of the second cornerstone on the United Presbyterian Church expansion building in 1953. The minister is
Reverend Foster, who headed mission from 1951-1959. On the right hand side of the platform in the back row
is Samuel McClelland, and to his right is Nettie McClelland. The McClelland family had been
members of the Brookline United Presbyterian Mission since February, 1913.

According to Carolyn Wood, here is an interesting anecdote on Brookline United Presbyterian history: During the heyday of trolley transportation in Brookline, the local route designation was #39. During Sunday school, children were taught a quick way to remember the Brookline route number. Thirty-nine is the number of books in the old testament, and 3 times 9 is the number of books on the new testament.


The Three Cornerstones

United Presbyterian Church Cornerstone - 1912.    United Presbyterian Church Cornerstone - 1924.

United Presbyterian Church Cornerstone - 1953.


Photos of the Brookline United Presbyterian Church

Brookline Boulevard, 1913
Photo from 1913 showing the newly constructed Stone Chapel.

Brookline Boulevard, 1916
Photo of Brookline Boulevard from 1916 showing the Stone Chapel.

United Presbyterian Church - 1924.
The newly expanded Brookline United Presbyterian Church in 1924.

Bible Class at United Presbyterian Church - 1939

Boy Scout Pack#18 - 1943
United Presbyterian Church

The photo above appeared in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph two days before Christmas, 1943. The Second World War was raging in Europe, North Africa, and in the Pacific. A fund was established by the Sun-Telegraph newspaper to purchase Christmas gifts for wounded servicemen who were being treated in local hospitals. Cub Scout Pack#18, which was based at the United Presbyterian Church in Brookline, collected $25 for the fund. An entourage of Cubs from the pack presented the donation.

Pictured are (left to right): Seated: Jimmy Karl, Gary Stepp, Jack Gessner, and Jimmy Hoetzlein. Standing: Herman Evert, Roger Neubauer, Don Sayenga, Don Little, Bob Campbell, Bob McCartney, Ron Thompson and Paul Conrad. At the time, Gary Stepp's father was the Cubmaster. He was an inspirational leader. Pack 18 was large and active, with about fifty Cubs organized into seven dens.

39-Brookline trolley passes Triangle Park and the Brookline United
 PResyterian Church at the intersection with Queensboro Avenue.
A 39-Brookline trolley passes the Brookline United Presbyterian Church in the late 1940s.

United Presbyterian Church - 1957
The United Presbyterian Church and new Education Wing in 1957.

The Brownie Troop from the
United Presbyterian Church - 1957
The Brownie Troop from the United Presbyterian Church in 1957. Some members of the troop were Susan Schmidt
Denise Jamise, Karen Hensler, Maureen McMillan, Karen Hoff, Lynn Domastoy, Gwen Haddad, Linda Pendercroft,
Jill Jamise, Gwen, Kitty and Doris Anderson. The troop leader was Mrs. Jamise.

The John Calvin Choir
 - United Presbyterian Church - 1960
The John Calvin Choir in 1960. The list below shows all of the choir members.

The John Calvin Choir
 Membership - 1960

The Beetles Beehive    The Beetles Beehive - 1961
Boy Scout Troop #227, known as the "Beetles Beehive", back in 1961. The photo to the right
shows the scouts on a camping trip to South Park in 1961. The scoutmaster
was Alex Bailey Sr, whose son Alex Jr. was known as Beetle.

United Presbyterian Church - 2013.
The Brookline Boulevard United Presbyterian Church in March 2013.

United Presbyterian Church - 2013.    United Presbyterian Church - 2013.
Images of the United Presbyterian Church in 2013. The image on the left shows parts of all three churches.
The picture on the right shows a section of the New Sanctuary and the Old Chapel along Chelton Avenue.

* Last Modified - March 31, 2013 *

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