History of Second Presbyterian Church: all four of them!
The first Second — 21 College Street (3rd Avenue N. at Gay Street)
Cornerstone laid: April 25, 1844. Dedicated: September 6, 1846
Second Presbyterian Church began as a Mission "Sabbath School" of First Presbyterian Church, meeting April 13, 1842, in the basement of a salt warehouse on Market Street, now Second Avenue.
With 32 charter members, Second Presbyterian was formally organized November 12, 1843. A plan was adopted November 22, 1843, to build a church on land donated by James Erwin.
During the Civil War, the congregation was split in its support of the Union and the Confederacy, resulting in Presbytery's dissolving pastoral relations on June 29, 1861. In 1862, Union troops commandeered both the church building and the adjacent minister's manse for a military post chapel and headquarters, taking Communion silver and all church records that miraculously reappeared years later.
In 1867, dedicated members began to rebuild the church which was taken back into the care and government of Nashville Presbytery October 18, 1871. That Greek revival building was razed in 1979 after serving its final years as a warehouse.
The second Second — 9th Avenue N. at Monroe Street
Cornerstone laid: April 20, 1903, Dedicated: September 25, 1904
Surrounded by commercial ventures, Second sold its downtown property and moved to North Nashville in 1902, meeting with Edgar Presbyterian Church after Presbytery ratified the union.
A split developed within the congregation in 1938, with the Reverend Fred Stroud removed by Presbytery November 25th. He then organized the First Independent Church and took many Second members with him.
When Presbytery became interested in establishing a local church to serve Monroe Harding Children's Home, which had moved to Glendale Lane from North Nashville in 1935, Second Church voted in 1939 to build a church in that area.
The congregation, which had retained the building, sold it to Reverend Stroud's group in November 1939.
The third Second — Belmont Blvd. at Graybar Lane
Ground broken: August 4, 1940, Dedicated: June 29, 1941
Monroe Harding Children's Home deeded land in 1939 to the Session and Trustees of Second Church with the understanding that it would be the church home of its children.
When the mortgage was burned June 3, 1951, ground was broken on a Sunday School annex. An addition was added in 1961 to the Sunday School building that included classrooms, a new parlor, fellowship hall, kitchen, pantry, and half bath.
Dedication of a new two-story addition was held November 18, 1990; the Activity Center was completed in 2002. The Sanctuary as well as other spaces were destroyed in a tragic fire September 17, 2003. Worship and a majority of other regular activities were held in the Activity Center until December 3, 2006, the first service in the new sanctuary...
The fourth Second — Belmont Blvd. at Graybar Lane
Groundbreaking: May 1, 2005, Dedicated: June 3, 2007
The new church, with its white painted brick and dark green shutters, and an exact replica of the former steeple standing on its original site, conveys continuity from the previous building. Its spiritually-inspired design reflects the appearance and function of a Reformed church: clean simple lines and functional transition from the outside world through a gathering hall and a narthex before entering the nave itself. The nave features natural light (symbolizing the pure light of God's reason) and visually focuses on the central pulpit, with the choir and custom-built Juget-Sinclair pipe organ in the rear balcony.
Other features include:
- Peaceable Kingdom area and children's worship space
- Two large youth rooms
- Café for meals, coffee hour, youth gatherings, meetings, etc.
- Facilities for FiftyForward (adult day care) and Room in the Inn guests
- Enhanced music wing
- Fellowship Hall
- Prayer Room
The new church, like its three predecessors, has been built not for ourselves but for the good of our community, and the building sees much diverse use during the week.