First Christian Church
The original church was replaced by this structure in 1893
Excerpt from First Christian Church Website
Brief History of First Christian Church
by James E. Smith, Jr., December 2, 1992
This historic congregation celebrated its sesquicentennial (150
years) during the spring of 1982. We are yet a viable congregation with more
than 165 years of service to the community of Columbia. Although organized in
1832, there is no exact date of the first organizational meeting.
The Red Top Christian Church had been organized at Hallsville
October 5, 1822 (the first in Boone County), and Bear Creek Christian Church,
three miles north of Columbia, had been organized June 6, 1824. It was from Bear
Creek that several members came to Columbia to establish a church in 1832. On
August 17, 1836, This congregation purchased a lot on the west side of Seventh
Street on which a building was built facing the Court House. During this time
services were held in the Court House and other accommodations.
Prior to, and after this time, many noted evangelists and
early pioneers of the Christian faith had visited and preached in the Columbia
area. Among these were Joel H. Haden, Thomas Thompson, Alexander Campbell and
his father Thomas, and Barton W. Stone. All of these are, or should
be, familiar names to members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The first church building, erected in 1838, was a one-story
brick structure (some bricks of which were used in making the marker on the 10th
Street side of the present Sanctuary), without basement, on a foundation 40 feet
by 60 feet. A pot-belly stove, fired by wood, warmed the room in cold weather.
Wooden benches were reasonably comfortable, with backs, for members who endured
Having outgrown the 1838 church, the congregation purchased a
corner lot at 10th and Walnut Streets, where the present church stands today. A
new brick structure, which fronted south on Walnut Street was dedicated January
31, 1861. This building was erected at a cost of $12,000. It seated 500 people
and was reported to be one of the finest and largest churches in central
The present sanctuary, dedicated November 26, 1893, was
designed by T.A. Bell, a Chicago architect, in the Richardson-Romanesque style.
The original sanctuary, costing $30,000, had a seating arrangement known as the
Akron style, with the chancel in the northwest corner and pews in a fan-shaped
arrangement. This was modified to the present rectangular seating in 1929 when
the Clarence E. Lemmon Education Building was built.