Brief History of First Presbyterian Church of Harborcreek
The Presbyterians were the first group to establish churches in the Erie County wilderness. The congregation at Harborcreek was organized May 26, 1832 by 58 members from the church at North East. While the church building was being erected, the members met in the barns of Elder J.M. Moorhead and William Wilson. The church was built on a piece of land donated by Judah Colt ½ mile east of the present village. The brick building cost $2,039.19 and was dedicated Nov. 7, 1834. The first elders of the congregation were Myron Backus, Samuel Kingsbury & J.M. Moorhead. Rev. Giles Doolittle of the North East church supplied the congregation during the first year, and Harborcreek continued to share ministers with North East until the 1840’s.
In 1849 Rev. George Cleaveland began his 44 year pastorate of the congregation. The church flourished until 1869 when there was a need for a new building causing a split in the congregation with an element returning to the church at North East. The original church building burned early in 1869, and a new church was built at a cost of $10,000 at the current site. It was dedicated Dec. 14, 1871.
The second church was also destroyed by fire on May 2, 191 7. The present building was rebuilt by the members using the standing walls and brick from the old soup house of the Cole Brothers Circus which had wintered at Troop Rd. and Iroquois Ave. The congregation met at Central School while the work was done. The new church cost $16,032.97 and was dedicated on the church’s 86th anniversary May 26, 1918. The church, being the largest hall in the township, became the site for Harbor Creek High School Baccalaureate services and Graduation ceremonies for many years.
The pipe organ was installed in 1929. Hard times followed during the Great Depression, but the pastor and members persevered. The church prospered in the ensuing years and many activities were added to the church programs during the late 1930’s and 1940’s.
The 1960’s saw many more changes with women entering official leadership positions in the church, audio visual materials used in the Sunday School and a newsletter begun. The church grew resulting in the need for a Christian Education building which was dedicated in 1969. Extensive remodeling was done in the church sanctuary in 1976. The church was made totally handicapped accessible with the new addition in 1995 which also added new office space and a youth room.
The First Presbyterian Church of Harborcreek celebrated its 175th Anniversary in 2007 and is looking forward to many more years spreading God’s word and serving the Harborcreek community.
…We continue Christ’s ministry in the world by nurturing the faith of persons of all ages through worship, warm fellowship and Christian Education…