News from Session: Special called congregational meeting to elect Elders and Deacons this Sunday, Jan 29th, following worship service.

Art & History

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A Distinguished Past...
A Vibrant Present

Old Stone Church, long a downtown Cleveland landmark, has a congregation dating back to 1820. Officially known as The First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland, it was founded at a time when Cleveland was a village of a few hundred people.  As Cleveland has grown in size and importance, Old Stone Church has kept pace, becoming a symbol of spiritual leadership, community involvement and stability in the heart of the city.

Key Events at Old Stone Church

1820

Our congregation was originally formed in September 1820. Among the 16 men and women who signed the charter was Rebecca Carter, who was one of the first permanent white settlers in Cleveland.

1834
The first church building was dedicated in 1834. Since it was made of gray sandstone, it became known as “The Stone Church”; as the sandstone darkened, it was later called “The Old Stone Church”. 
1835

In June of 1835, The Rev. Samuel C. Aiken is installed as the first Senior Pastor of Old Stone Church. Rev. Aiken served until March of 1861. 

1857

A disastrous fire hit Old Stone Church in March 1857, spreading from the roof to the 250-foot steeple. American industrialist and Cleveland resident Amasa Stone led the successful campaign to rebuild the church on the original property.

1861

In April of 1861, The Rev. William H. Goodrich is installed as Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church. Rev. Goodrich January of 1879. 

1872

The Rev. Hiram C. Haydn is installed as the third Senior Pastor in August of 1872 until October of 1880.

Rev. Haydn also served a second term as Senior Pastor from October 1884 until June of 1902. 

1879
Old Stone is the only remaining building to have been in existence during the lighting of Public Square with Charles Brush’s arc light in 1879.
1880

The Rev. Arthur Mitchell is installed as the fourth Senior Pastor in October of 1880. He served until June of 1884.

1884
A second fire struck the church in the winter of 1884. Reconstruction and renovation began immediately, with architect Charles Schweinfurth employed to guide the project. It would be one of many important architectural contributions he would make to the city of Cleveland. This restored version of the church is essentially what you see today, with minor tweaks made over time to preserve the historic sanctuary and outdoor façade.
1902

The Rev. Andrew B. Meldrum is installed as the fifth Senior Pastor in June of 1902. He served until May of 1924. 

1924

The Rev. William H. Foulkes is installed as the sixth Senior Pastor in October of 1924. He served until June of 1926.

1927

The Rev. Robert W. Mark is installed as the seventh Senior Pastor in June of 1927. He served until June of 1933.

1935

The Rev. Robert B. Whyte is installed as the eighth Senior Pastor in May of 1935. He served until December 1956. 

1946

Old Stone’s famous carillon and tower clock, gifts of Mrs. Margaret Rusk Griffiths, were dedicated in 1946. After more than three decades of use, the carillon fell into disrepair and was not played for several years. It was repaired and put back into service in the fall of 1987, and once again renovated during the steeple replacement.

1958

The Rev. Lewis Raymond is installed as the ninth Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church in March of 1958. Rev. Raymond served until May of 1984.

1962
Our parish house (which houses our administrative offices, Sunday School wing, chapel, art gallery, and other rooms) opened in 1962. A Columbarium was installed and dedicated in later years. Today, many organizations use the building for meetings and events.
1985

The Rev. Malcolm A. McCuaig is installed as the tenth Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church. Rev. McCuaig served until 1997.

1998

In 1998, Rev. Gary L. Kornell is installed as the eleventh Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church. Rev. Kornell served until 2002. 

2008

Rev. Mark Giuliano installed as the twelfth Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church in August 2008. Rev Giuliano served until December of 2019.

2020

Old Stone Church celebrated its historic bicentennial amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

2022

Old Stone Church Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) unanimously nominates Rev. Stephen C. Blonder Adams as Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church. The Presbytery formally installs Blonder Adams as the thirteenth Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church in October of 2022. 

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Our Stained Glass Windows

Among the first breathtaking visuals our visitors experience within our Sanctuary are our beloved stained glass windows. 

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Amasa Stone

Amasa Stone Window (1885) by John LaFarge

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Titled “Benevolence,” this window was installed in 1885 in memory of Amasa Stone (1818-1883). Amasa Stone abundantly donated his services and his money to Old Stone and to Cleveland. The window was designed by John LaFarge and was a gift of the Stone family. In 2000, the window was restored by Conrad Schmitt Studios.

Interesting trivia: Amasa Stone’s niece, Emma Raymond, was the first woman to be elected Elder at Old Stone when the Presbyterian Church permitted women to be ordained to that office. She came to live with Amasa Stone when she was orphaned at the age of 14. She was very close to Flora Stone Mather, daughter of Amasa Stone.

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"The Recording Angel” (1885) by Louis Comfort Tiffany

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“The Recording Angel,” is a memorial to Samuel Williamson Jr. (1808-1884) and the gift of the Williamson family. It was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and installed in 1885. Many generations of the Williamson family were active at Old Stone. Samuel Williamson was one of the founders. Samuel Williamson Jr., a lawyer, was a partner of Leonard Case Sr. and, at the time of his death, president of Society for Savings. His son, Samuel E. Williamson, was the main mover to retain the Church on Public Square after the fire of 1884.

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“Christ Blessing Little Children” (1920) by J. and R. Lamb

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The Clark Memorial Window was given by Mrs. Washington Tyler in memory of her parents, James F. Clark (1809-1884) and Eliza A. Clark (1815-1894). The subject is “Christ Blessing Little Children: The Memory of the Just Is Blessed.” It was designed by J. and R. Lamb and installed in 1920. The Clarks lived in a mansion on Euclid Avenue and made many donations to Old Stone. Mrs. Clark gave the baptismal font and also left the first large gift of endowment ($75,000) to the church.

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“Beside the Still Water” (1915) by Louis Comfort Tiffany

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“Beside the Still Water” was given in 1915 in memory of Samuel A. Raymond by his family. It was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The subject was taken from the Twenty-third Psalm, a favorite of the family. In the Church’s 1916 yearbook, Pastor Livingston Fewsmith wrote that the window “as a work of art is perfect” and that it “quiets our hearts as we gaze upon it.”

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"The Sower" (1930) installed by Tiffany Studio

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The Hall Memorial Window was installed by the Tiffany Studio in January 1930.  It was given in memory of Jennie Lyon Hall (1855-1915) and Lucien B. Hall (1848-1925) by their daughter, Mrs. George S. Case.  "The Sower" remembers Mr. and Mrs, Hall in a fitting manner, Mr. Hall served for twenty-six years as elder and trustee during the pastorate of Dr. Hiram C. Haydn, and Dr, Andrew B. Meldrum.  Mrs. Hall served as treasurer of the Frances Goodrich Society and the Women's Society.  She was a member of the Sisters-in-Charge and gave help whenever needed.
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"I Am the Resurrection and the Life"(1930) by Louis Comfort Tiffany

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The Cogswell Memorial Window was installed by the Tiffany Studios in November, 1930.  The signature of Louis Comfort Tiffany can be seen in the lower right hand corner.  "The Resurrection" is a loving tribute to James H. Cogswell (1849-1925) from his wife, Elizabeth Cogswell.  James Huntington Cogswell had been a loyal and devoted member of Old Stone Church for more than fifty years.

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Key Landmarks and Points of Interest

Old Stone Church is home to many key landmarks and points of interest, both inside of the Sanctuary, the parish house, and on the grounds outside of Old Stone Church. 

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Organ

Our Organ (1977)

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Installed in 1977, Old Stone Church's unique organ was built by Cleveland’s world-famous Holtkamp Organ Company. The instrument employs mechanical action and has three manuals, 42 stops, and two enclosed divisions. The ornate original casework built around the organ dates back to an 1895 instrument built by William A. Johnson.

In recent years, the organ has undergone professional restoration. It is used during each service at Old Stone Church. 

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When I was Hungry & Thirsty (2018) by Timothy Schmalz

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In 2018, Old Stone Church was selected by Community West Foundation to became the home for When I was Hungry & Thirsty; a sculpture by artist Timothy Schmalz, as part of his Matthew: 25 collection, which features six sculptures, installed throughout the city. 

This sculpture is prominently displayed in front of the stairs leading into our sanctuary, bringing to light our work in providing those who need a helping hand the assistance they need.  

To learn more about Community West Foundation's involvement in the Matthew: 25 collection click here. 

Bell

Historic Bell (1865)

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Cast and raised to the belfry of Old Stone Church in 1865, this bell rang during the Thanksgiving celebration service at the end of the Civil War. 

It tolled at the time that President Lincoln's cortege stopped at Public Square for a memorial service. 

The bell was removed form the belfry in 1982 and on October 8, 1989 was presented to the City of Cleveland as a gift from Old Stone Church to be a lasting memorial in the history of Cleveland's Public Square. 

Baptismal font

Baptismal Font(1885)

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The Baptismal font, located in our Sanctuary was presented to Old Stone Church by Eliza A. Clark in 1885.

It is still used today.

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Lincoln's Pew (1865)

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The pew was in use in 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln was mourned on Public Square while en route to be buried in Springfield, Illinois. 

Lincoln's pew was the only pew in the sanctuary that withstood destruction during the fire of 1884.

Contrary to legend, Lincoln's family did not sit on the pew mourning!

Chapel

Griffiths Chapel (1961)

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Griffiths Chapel, the gift of Margaret Rusk Griffiths, was dedicated as part of the new Parish House in 1961. The chapel was a memorial to her husband, Edward S. Griffiths. 

From 1966 to 1983, the chapel served as the worship center for the Cleveland Chinese Christian Church. 

Currently the chapel serves a variety of purposes, from small weddings to special events. The chapel features a beautiful stained-glass window based on Psalm 148. 

In 1997 a columbarium was constructed to serve as the final resting place for members of Old Stone Church who desire to dwell in the House of the Lord forever. 

Old Stone Church History Brochure

Take a deeper look into the rich history of Old Stone Church.
OSC History Brochure
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