First Presbyterian Church, El Dorado, Arkansas

FPC Today

First Presbyterian Church is located in downtown El Dorado, Arkansas. We're a community of Christians who are reliant on God's grace and the promise of His Word. Although our service is traditional, the presence of God is always with us. There's a place for everyone here who seeks to know God and enjoy worshipping Him.

First Presbyterian Church, El Dorado, Arkansas is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) through the Synod of the Sun and the Presbytery of the Pines. We are so excited to welcome you to join us as we continue to share what God is doing in the world.

First Presbyterian Church

Our History

The first site for the First Presbyterian Church was across from the Presbyterian Church cemetery where El Dorado Printing is now. That building was a small frame building. It was built in 1848 with Rev W. S. Lacy preaching the first sermon. The church was destroyed by a severe storm in 1862. The bell was given to the Confederate army to be melted down for cannon balls during the Civil war. After the Civil war the church was reorganized in 1868 and a second building was built on the corner of Hill and Main St on land owned by Peter G. Craig. The site of the first church was sold to purchase the lumber for the new building and church members made the furniture. It took two years to build and was finished in 1872 debt free and was dedicated June 29, 1872. The Rev. W. S. Lacy returned to preach the first sermon in that building.  The congregation decided it was time to move again when the Arcade Hotel was built right up against the west wall of the church. Mrs. Craig the widow of Peter Craig arranged to swap land parcels of similar size one block over, on the corner of Main street and Jackson street.. The new wood frame, Gothic Revival style church was completed in 1897 and dedicated debt free in the fall of 1898. This church was heated by a coal stove. When the church had potlucks they carried water over from Mrs. Craig’s home nearby. 

The church owned the east side of the block and David Armstrong purchased the west half and donated it for the new church building. The building was designed by the firm of R. H. Hunt and Associates in the Collegiate Gothic Style. The church was constructed out of red brick and white terra cotta, with a roof of green tiles and was completed in October 1926. This building was built to accommodate the growing congregation during the oil boom era. James A. Rowland gave the money to purchase the sanctuary windows. The women’s Auxiliary raised the money to purchase the Moller four manual pipe organ that is still in use today. The organ was rebuilt in 1975 and refurbished again in 2000 due to storm damage to the pipes.

David E. Armstrong gave the chimes in the carillon tower in memory of his wife. The chime system is a 16 note Deagan Tower Chime system one of only 440 tubular bell carillons ever built.  The bells were installed in March 1926 and refurbished in April 2000. The only other Deagan Tower Chime system built in Arkansas is in Fort Smith at the 1st United Methodist church. There were only 6 Deagan Tower Chime Systems still fully operational in 2000. Lighting struck the Bell Tower in December 2016 and age-related damage to the chime structure was discovered. Money was raised to replace the wood supports with metal supports and refurbish the chimes.  Extensive work was done on the Bell Tower beginning in the fall of 2018 with the chimes being re-installed in July 2019.

The Rowland Chapel and education wing were added in 1955. The architect was Bruce R. Anderson, to fit the historic style and design of the main church building, he used the Collegiate Gothic style in a more restrained style.

The Chapel was dedicated in memory of James. A. Rowland, who contributed funds for the building of this chapel. The art, stained glass windows were dedicated on April 17, 1966. The windows depict: The Nativity; Jesus in the Temple; The Baptism of Jesus; Calling the Disciples; Blessing of the Children; Entry into Jerusalem; Garden of Gethsemane; Mary and Martha; and Easter.