On July 14, 1824, the group organized the First Congregational Church.  The Confession of Faith of the Bath Presbytery was adopted and meetings were held in the Schoolhouse.  The school house, which was a log cabin, and was located on the Asa Allen property which was Main St. at that time.  It would be now on First Street just north of the Legion Park.  (A note of interest: one of the Deacons presented the Church with a check for three dollars of the purchase of Church furniture.)

In 1840, a Church was erected on the corner of Main and West Greenwood Streets where the bank now stands. The Church was to be dedicated on December 11, 1840, but the building wasn’t finished and was not dedicated until five or six weeks later.  Deacon Asa Allen gave the dedication address.

Their dreams all went up in smoke on night of May 23, 1866 when a terrible fire took place.  Thirteen buildings were destroyed, involving a loss of forty thousand dollars.  The fire originated in Font’s Saloon, which stood were the Post Office now stands and spread in a southeasterly direction, destroying Birn’s Hotel and barn, J. C. Dyers store, Gallagher’s Saloon, Peter Swink’s Saloon, the Presbyterian Church, Ellis’s Store, Elwell’s Machine Shop, another hotel and several other buildings.  (This paragraph was taken from “The History of Allegany County 1879.  The Andover Sesquicentennial book says October 1866.)

The present church was erected on East Greenwood St. in 1867 by the faithful members who volunteered endless hours of labor. There were no contractors in those days and the pioneers did the work themselves. Monsieur Dyer generously gave $1,000 and loaned another $1,000, and much of the labor was done by him and his family.  This building was completed and dedicated on Thursday, January 23, 1868.  The open Bible and the Cross now is use on the Communion table, were given in memory and honor of Monsieur Dyer by his four grandchildren; Albert Durand, Edward Hardy, Sylvia Hardy and Grace Hardy Livermore. (Names that were once a big part of Andover’s history, but are unknown to Andover today.)

A church isn’t a church unless it has a bell, so in 1870 a bell was built and purchased from the Menelly Foundry of West Troy.  The cost was $700 and the weight of the bell was 1,440 pounds.  I believe that his bell is still in the belfry today.

In 1874, the name was officially changed from “The First Congregational Church” to “The First Presbyterian Church”, but it wasn’t incorporated until 1926.

In the year 1881 a “Harvest Home” was held.  It was an event which was held to bring all of the friends of the Church together as a time of homecoming, and to enjoy a bountiful chicken pie dinner. This was such a success that it was held for 70 years. Local stores and banks closed during the festivities.  Farmers planned their work so they could attend. Addresses were given by notable persons during the events along with music for everyone to enjoy.  Some of the bands were; the Baker Bothers Band, the American Legion Band, and Town Bands under the direction of Archie Bloss and Oliver Kemp.   These events took place in the “Grove” which is now the Little League Park.  Then in the mid 1920’s it was moved to the Church lawn. Only once was it cancelled, in the mid 1940’s, due to a polio epidemic.

In 1893 or 94 (conflicting dates) the Presbyterian Society built a manse for the use of the Presbyterian minister and his family.  It was built on East Ave.  The Church sold this house in 1990 to Bradley and Marcy Bledsoe, who still reside there today.

In the year 1903 the Church parlors and kitchen were added to the Church.  Gas lights were installed in 1904.

In March of 1908 a pipe organ was installed. The organ was made by the Estey Company.  They had 6 days to install the new organ and they had to have the job completed by the 29th of March, at which time, it was to be paid in full, $1,800. It was replaced in 1962 with a Wurlitzer organ and amplifier, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schirmer in memory of their daughter Alma. The Schirmers resided in Cleveland Ohio, and attended the Andover Presbyterian Church during their summer vacations in Andover.  I don’t know what happened to the pipe organ, but I do remember Bob McClure, son of Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth McClure, had a hand in the taking apart the pipe organ.

The King’s Daughters Society was organized by the women of the Church in 1912, accomplishing a great deal through the years by providing necessary furnishings as well as in benevolent aims.  In 1958, the Society became identified with and the name was changed to the United Presbyterian Women’s Organization.

On August 30 and 31 of 1924 the Presbyterian Church in Andover celebrated its 100th Anniversary.  Saturday afternoon started out with everyone getting reacquainted again and socializing.  At six o’clock close to 200 people were served a wonderful dinner by the King’s Daughters Society. At eight o’clock people and past ministers were allowed to tell stories of the experiences with the church.  The Church was filled like never before for Sunday’s worship services.  The large choir furnished special music along with solos and violin music.  Sunday afternoon was filled with sermons and talks from past Ministers and important dignitaries.

Electricity was installed in 1936, mostly through the money-making efforts of the Youth Group at that time.

In 1959 a Memorial Fund was created, which has provided memorials for loved ones in many gifts to the Church.

In 1961 more room was needed.  A renovation program was undertaken, and money raised to improve the Sunday School Rooms, to add a new dining room, Pastor’s study, kitchen and a new heating system.  The remodeling project was completed and dedicated on December 3, 1961 at a total cost of $15,121.00.

In January of 1973 on an agreement with both the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations, at separate meetings, it was decided to form a Methodist-Presbyterian Cooperative Parish. Believing that the work of the Church would be more effective for both the members and the community.  The first joint worship service was held in the Methodist Church on February 4, 1973. Each Church retained its own membership, Board of Trustees, Session and Administrative Boards, as well as a combined Council on Ministries which was amendable to each Church’s administrative agencies.  They met for one month in one Church and then another month in the other Church.  This lasted for three years.  Sometime in 1976 they went back to their own Churches conducting services and business as before.

In the summer of 2008 the United Presbyterian Women’s Organization redecorated and painted the kitchen and dinning room.  The ladies did the project by themselves which took about six weeks.

(Below are 2009 views of building) IMAGES***