Lake Street Presbyterian Church
300 Lake Street
Elmira, NY 14901
(607) 732-2680
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History of Lake Street Presbyterian Church

The events shaking the country in the early days of the Civil War had a significant effect upon the church life of Elmira. Those years saw the formation of at least two new churches. A group of 116 members of First Presbyterian Church, with four other persons, formed what is now the Lake Street Presbyterian Church.

When Lake Street Presbyterian Church formally organized on February 8, 1861, it was known as the Second Presbyterian Society. Later the name became the Second Presbyterian Church and finally Lake Street Presbyterian Church.

In 1861 the lot at the corner of Lake and Church Streets was purchased. The ground for the foundation of the new sanctuary was broken in the month of September, 1861. On June 13, 1862, the finished sanctuary was dedicated, an event made more solemn because it was the first anniversary of the death of the beloved first pastor, Dr. Murdoch. A tablet in memorial to Dr. Murdoch was placed in the entrance hall of the church, where it can be seen today. The dedication address was given by the Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, pastor of the Congregational Church of Elmira, the present Park Church.

In 1876 the fifteen-year old church underwent extensive renovation and enlargement.

In 1925 an addition to the church, known as the church house, was erected. It was built on the site of the former church manse, which was torn down to make a place for this new part of the church, containing the parlors, Sunday School rooms, offices, kitchen, and gymnasium.

In 2011, at a time when the world is again shaken by tensions and worries, as it was one hundred and fifty years ago, much comfort can be derived from looking back over more than 150 years of service, achievement and devotion to God's work, as represented by Lake Street Presbyterian Church. One is reminded that these achievements did not come easily and that Lake Street Church's position of leadership in the Protestant life of Elmira imposes great obligations and responsibilities upon its congregation. The future can be even more wonderful!

Lake Street Church has an outstanding, three-manual, twenty-six rank instrument, Op. 1381 of the Austin Organ Company, Hartford, Connecticut. The Austin Organ Company was established in 1899 by John Turnell Austin. It is the oldest continuously functioning organ company in the United States. Coincidentally, the Austin Organ Company has installed more instruments in Presbyterian churches than in churches of any other denomination. Our instrument is meticulously maintained by L. A. Peckham & Son Pipe Organ Service.

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