History

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Although a Presbyterian church was begun in Corpus Christi in 1858, the Civil War sent the minister back north and the group disbanded. In 1866 several of the prominent citizens of the city, including Capt. Richard King and Dr. E.T. Merriman, met to discuss building a Presbyterian Church in the young city,
 
The First Presbyterian Church of Corpus Christi was chartered by the Old School General Assembly of the the old “northern” Presbyterian Church on May 12, 1867 with seven members – six women and one man. Construction materials were purchased for a building, but the yellow fever epidemic in the summer of 1867, (which killed one-fifth of the city’s population) also killed the church’s minister and one member. The wooden construction materials were used for coffins.
 
In 1868 the church’s first building was built, without window panes or pews and with only a dirt floor. By 1875 the membership grew to fifty, and in 1879 a manse was built.  On March 11, 1872 the congregation voted to transfer its membership to the Presbytery of Western Texas of the Presbyterian Church in the US (the former “southern” church). The minister at the time, W.E. Caldwell, wrote, “This was done out of no unkind feeling to our northern brethren, but out of regard for the interests of Christ’s cause, as connected with the people here.”
Early in the 1900s lots were purchased where the present Six Hundred Building is located, and a handsome red brick structure was erected by Henrietta King in memory of her husband, Capt. Richard   King, with a beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows in memory of her father, the Rev. Hiram Chamberlain, who had established the first Presbyterian church in South Texas at Brownsville in the 1850s. Following the disastrous hurricane and tidal wave of 1919, the Red Brick Church served as shelter and sustenance for the city. The women of the church served food to about 700 people a day.
 
In 1903, Mrs. Rachel Doddridge bequeathed her home on Upper Broadway to the church, and on August 17, 1930, the present sanctuary was built and our church moved into its present location. The three story Doddridge building houses the church’s offices, choir facilities, library, chapel, children’s Sunday School rooms, and dorms for visiting mission groups. The construction note was paid off during World War II. After the war the buildings were air conditioned and the lots north and south of the building were purchased. Then, during the church’s Centennial Celebration in 1967, a new wing was added to house Kleberg Hall, the living room, kitchen and additional class rooms.
 
First Presbyterian has been served through the years by 26 installed pastors, along with many associates and interims.