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Central Presbyterian Church (White Hall) - New Castle PA

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The Central Presbyterian Church had its beginnings in about 1851, when a small group of “Free” Presbyterians led by Joseph S. White founded a church in downtown New Castle. Within a few years (c1858) they erected a church/public meeting place near the public square (“the Diamond”) known as White Hall. It was a popular meeting place for civic and veterans’ groups, a Sunday home for religious services, and a center of patriotic rallies during the Civil War and Spanish-American War. The building was extensively remodeled in later years to become the fulltime and exclusive home of the Central Presbyterian Church. A long, narrow walkway was built to allow access from the public square to the church, which sat back about half a block. (c1875)

The Central Presbyterian Church was accessed from the public square by an entrance (bottom middle of photo) that connected to a hallway leading back to the main sanctuary of the church. The downtown church, then home to 800 parishioners, was gutted by a devastating fire on the late night of Saturday, March 19, 1949. Local firearm battled the blaze until early Sunday morning. The loss was estimated at over $100,000 while the church carried only $67,000 in insurance. It was believed a newly installed furnace was the cause of the fire. (Mar 1949)

What remains of the church’s sanctuary on the afternoon on Sunday, March 20, 1949. The charred walls, outlined in white, were soon demolished. (Mar 1949)

The Central Presbyterian Church was accessed from the public square by an entrance way (gray stone structure on right of photo) that led back to the sanctuary of the church. The church was lost to a devastating fire on March 19-20, 1949. The congregation debated on a course of action, and soon decided to rebuild at a new location in Neshannock Township. Services were held in the Scottish Rite Cathedral until the new Central Presbyterian Church opened along the Wilmington Road in June 1952. The thriving congregation changed its name to the Northminster Presbyterian Church in early 1959 and is still in operation today. These days the abandoned downtown location is nothing more than a vacant lot/parking spaces, located next to and behind the MP Coney Island restaurant. (c1914) Full Size


  1. Central Presbyterian Church is now Northminster Presbyterian in Neshanonck. My grandfather and grandmother where members of Central Presbyterian Church.


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