First Presbyterian Church of Niles celebrates 100 years

Published 9:39 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

One hundred years ago this month, the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Niles dedicated their new building at 13 S. 4th St.

Begun in April 1915, the massive structure of brick and stone was impressive with its square bell tower and pillared portico.

Light in the sanctuary filtered through intricate stained glass windows onto the polished wooden pews and altar pieces, giving a feeling of peace and beauty to all who entered.

A generous gift from the estate of Charles A. Chapin made this building and the manse next door possible. In fact, the building was originally named the Chapin Memorial Church in his honor.

Dr. William Phelps was the pastor at that time, serving from 1915 to 1919. Membership by the end of his tenure totaled 448.

Several additions were added to the building over the years as the congregation grew. Even though the numbers are smaller again, the church remains a vital part of the community, serving as a meeting place for a variety of community groups in addition to regular congregational activities and service projects.

Sunday morning worship services are at 8 a.m. (contemplative) and 10:30 a.m. (traditional). There are a number of adult and children/youth activities on Sundays and during the week. First Presbyterian Church of Niles’ website ( is currently being updated and should be completed by February.

For specific information until that time, call the church office at (269) 683-7600.