Down Through The Years
In the beginning God created the forest, the rivers and the lakes here in Pine County. He also created the Indians
who roamed the forests. Then came the loggers, the iron horse on rails, sawmills and people. A few at first, but then more and more people came. And thus a village was formed. By 1885 the village was large enough to be
incorporated. The Western Land Association platted the village and called it Hinckley. Even before this, wandering preachers, called “sky pilots,” visited the village and the lumber camps preaching the word of God. There were
people of many denominational faiths and some who had no “faith” at all.
Here in Hinckley in 1882 a small group met in the village school house to form a Presbyterian Church. They wanted to perpetuate their faith in God and those of their children and coming generations. On the document recorded in the Court House in Pine City appear these names: Marcus and Mary Martin, Mr. and Mrs. Haney E. Fuller, Daniel and Alice Whetten, Mr. and Mrs. George Huntington, Mrs. Nelson Henry and Miss Annie Currie. The document was dated March 3rd, 1893 and established the First Presbyterian Society of Hinckley.
Pastor Rese Allen was the Pastor in Pine City but came to Hinckley to preach to the new Presbyterian Society during the years of 1884, ’85 and ’86. Services were held in the various homes. The first resident Pastor, to our knowledge, was the Reverend Greenshields who ministered to the small group during 1889 and ’90. Reverend C. C. Christianson became the Pastor in 1892 but died from pneumonia the next year.
His tenure was very important, however, for it was through his efforts that the first church building was erected. He was the great uncle of our present dentist, Dr. Ronald Christianson.
In 1888 the trustees of the church, Joshua Thompson, H. H. Scott, and Dan McLaren, had bought lot 4, block 125 in the name of the First Presbyterian Church of Hinckley for $125.00. It was on this lot that the first Presbyterian Church building was erected. But. all the work and efforts expended came to naught as of September 1st, 1894, the date of the Great Hinckley Fire. Twentyfive members of the congregation lost their lives. The Reverend Peter Knudsen was the Pastor during this holocaust. Almost immediately after the fire work was started on a new church building while services were held in the new school house. The new church building was dedicated on November 10, 1895.
Reverend Knudsen was in charge and the Reverend Dr. Adams of Minneapolis gave the sermon.
In 1905 the Presbyterian Church purchased a 100 foot lot from Mr. Leonard. This was located on the corner of then 2nd Avenue and 5th Street. It was a number of years, however, before this lot was used. In 1911 the group decided that a new church building should be built on the lot. A basement was dug, but then the work ceased. Material for the new building was to be obtained from an old church building at Canton, Minnesota. Due to litigation the material was tied up so it was decided to build the church as funds were available. It wasn’t until 1914 that the new building was completed. It was dedicated on the 25th of October, 1914. In the meantime, the old building had been sold for $750 to W. C. Warren who immediately had moved his printing office into the building. Since that time the old church building has been the home of the Hinckley Enterprise and the Hinckley News. In 1918 the congregation accepted an invitation by the Methodist-Episcopalian Congregation to worship with them. An outcome of this was the merging of the Methodists with the Presbyterians; the Episcopalians building their own church. Thus the Methodist church building became idle. In 1926 the building was sold to Morris Folsom for a mortuary and such it is today.
There have been many additions and alterations to the building throughout the years, as well as to the church holdings. In 1936 the Manse was completed. In 1944 a new oil furnace was installed, eliminating the need for wood.
In 1953 and ’54 a major remodeling job extended the building to the west. This not only enlarged the seating capacity but changed the direction of seating from facing the north to facing the west as it is today. From time to time new additions within the church were made; many of these were given as memorials to loved ones. New pews were added in 1960.
A legal change was made in 1954 when the name “First Presbyterian Society” was changed to ”First Presbyterian Church”.
The latest alteration to the church building was in 1973 when a foyer or porch was added to the front of the building. New paint, a new ceiling, roof, and light fixtures have also been added. One last addition to the Church property was added in August of 1978, that being the purchase of the lot and house adjacent to the church to the west. The house has been removed and a fine parking lot is now in its place.
The Presbyterian Church building, simple in design, now on the corner of 3rd Street and Lawler Avenue, has been a steadfast place to worship our Lord for about 68 years on this the 100th anniversary of the time when a small group in 1882 started the First Presbyterian Church of Hinckley.