Photo by Fred Pollard
Elm Street Presbyterian Church, 101 W. Elm St. in Alton
On Nov. 19, 1919, Elm Street Presbyterian Church, 101 W. Elm St., was officially welcomed to the Alton community.
On Nov. 16, the church celebrated its 95th anniversary with a catered meal, an honoring of their veterans and a congregational rededication of baptisms during the worship service performed by Pastor the Rev. William Veith.
Built in 1923 (and completed in 1926), the church was the original founder of the Crisis Food Center.
“(The center) started in this church, and then when it got too big they got their own building,” administrative assistant Marjory Bryant says. “The first Montessori school was in this building. It first started in this area and is now at Lewis and Clark.”
Bryant has been in the church since 1950, joining the congregation along with her sister on the same day. She says a big challenge has been seeing the size of the congregation dwindling over the years.
“When my children were growing up, (we) had a congregation of over 300 people,” she says. “Now it is down to less than 100. This is something we hope to improve over time.”
Honored at the celebration were the congregation’s oldest members.
“My sister and I were two of them and then there was Carol Springate before us,” Bryant says. “She joined in 1946.”
The youngest attending member also was honored, 19-year-old Michael Stolze.
As a piece of Alton’s vivid history, Elm Street Presbyterian Church has persevered through the years, providing community outreach and worship. Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings are held at the church on Monday evenings, regular Sunday services are at 10 a.m., and the banquet hall is available for receptions, baby showers, anniversaries and more.
For information, call (618) 466-5421.