Looking back at the life of the congregation…

If you lived in Colonial Heights in the early 1920’s, you were in a new community that geographically was a part of Petersburg. The electric railway ran down the main street (now called Boulevard), making it easy to get to either Petersburg or Richmond. A small bridge crossed the Appomattox River but there were plans to build a new concrete bridge within a few years. You might have owned a farm in the area or you might have moved to Colonial Heights because of the convenience of the electric railway or the cooler summers on the “Heights.”

Presbyterian families in Colonial Heights were former members of two congregations in Petersburg: Tabb Street Presbyterian Church and Second Presbyterian Church. On Sunday mornings, families would drive, walk, or take the streetcar to Petersburg to attend services at one of the churches. (Closed automobiles were not very common in those days.) During the early 1920’s, Colonial Heights had grown in size with several Presbyterian families living in the area. Minutes of meetings in 1923 tell how Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church was organized, the first elders elected, and how the group called their first minister. Reverend M.B. Porter, who lived in Richmond and worked with the American Bible Society, accepted the call, and within six months plans for a two-story church house was in the works. As of April 23, 1923, there were 18 members on the church roster. In a few short years, this number grew to 58 members. The church home was a two-story structure that served as a sanctuary with living quarters for the pastor on the second floor.

In the midst of the Great Depression, by 1933 the rolls of the new church increased to 110 names. By the 1940’s, a building campaign was started to raise money to build a new sanctuary. By 1950, with assistance from the Presbytery, the money was available. On February 12, 1950, a picture appeared in the Progress-Index showing Mrs. Floyd McDaniels, Mrs. E.J. Collins and Mrs. John Ball breaking ground for the new building. A local architect, Randolph Gailey, donated his services to design the new church. Services were held in the new sanctuary on Sunday March 11, 1951. Dr. Earnest Trice Thompson gave the sermon with a solo provided by Robert Lee Howerton. Still to this day, we worship in this lovely sanctuary.