FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The First Christian Church of Sioux Falls had its beginning in November of 1887 when two local attorneys, U. S. G. Cherry, and Sutton E. Young learned that they both had belonged elsewhere to the Christian Church while residing in eastern states. They decided to work together to form a new Christian Church in Sioux Falls. On the evening of November 16, of that same year, nine people attended the first meeting where an agreement was made to form a church and to immediately begin holding worship services in member’s homes.
At a meeting on January 10, 1888, held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Frick, the first formal election of elders and deacons took place. These new church officers not only comprised the first General Board but also served communion each Sunday morning.
Land was obtained at this site and plans for a new sanctuary were prepared by W. L. Dow, the legendary Sioux Falls pioneer architect. A contract was let to builder, Milton R. Leakey, a charter member. Construction began in the spring of 1889. In April the Reverend J. Carrol Stark became its first pastor, and the church was completed in September of that year at a total cost of 3,500 dollars. Benches were used for the first pews, and because the church did not have a baptistery, baptisms were held outdoors at a Big Sioux River location.
On the evening of November 2, 1889, an election of officers was held and a permanent organization was formed. The meeting was interrupted by the noise of church bells ringing and repeated, ear-piercing blasts from locomotive and factory steam whistles. It was soon learned that earlier that day, President Grover Cleveland had signed a proclamation admitting South Dakota into the United States. During its first service held the next day, Sunday, November 3, the new sanctuary was dedicated. Church leaders immediately laid claim that First Christian Church was the first church to be organized and incorporated following statehood.
In August of 1925, construction of an education building began along with the remodeling of the old sanctuary which included brick veneer, a new baptistery, and a balcony that seated 40 people. Forty years later on Sunday, July 26, 1964, ground breaking ceremonies for a new sanctuary enthusiastically began. Moving day was held on Palm Sunday, April 3, 1966. The first part of the service was conducted in the old sanctuary, and members then carried their hymnals to the new sanctuary where the service was concluded. May we continue to serve Christ and His church with God’s help.
DEDICATED IN 2012 BY THE MINNEHAHA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
(The Historic Marker Seal can be found by the Main Entrance of the Church)