The History of Darnestown Presbyterian Church

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On May 12, 1855, under the leadership of Rev. Daniel Motzer, the Darnestown Presbyterian Church was formally organized as a "Missionary Point" of the Neelsville Presbyterian Church. Prior to that time the group had shared a log church at the corner of Route 28 and 118 with Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians. The new congregation accepted John DuFief's offer of three acres and, using volunteer labor, began building their Church. The handsome wood-frame building was dedicated on May 22, 1858. Then, in the late 1860s, Andrew Small, a friend of the Church, granted sums of money to be used to building the parsonage (1868) and to establish and build a private academy (1867).

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Darnestown's most prosperous years were the late 1800s, and this was reflected in improvements made to the Church at that time. During the 1890s, the old iron fence from the Court House in Rockville was purchased and installed to enclose the cemetery. In 1897, the Church parlor and the bell tower were added to the front of the building. Around 1900, windows in the Sanctuary were replaced with stained glass memorial windows, and the stone wall near the road was built.

A major change to the original building was made about 1953, when the southeast wall was removed for the construction of the present chancel area. The Service of Dedication of the Nourse Memorial Chancel was held on May 2, 1954 with the Reverend John F. Wells, Jr. delivering the address. At the same time a new wing was added to the east. In 1959, the old parlor was opened up to become part of the present Sanctuary. A new parsonage was built in 1961. The old manse, used as a Sunday School building, was torn down in 1969, after having served the Church for 100 years. The new Fellowship Hall, appropriately named for the Church's patron, Andrew Small, was built in 1969 to house the Sunday School rooms. The Service of Dedication of the Andrew Small Building was held on April 27, 1969.  In 2009-10 a major restoration of our beautiful stained glass windows was concluded.

Review the details of the project in our PHOTO ALBUM. At the same time, a new round dove window was created and added to the front top of the Church.

For a more comprehensive review of our history updated in 1980, please see 1980 History. The Church's long history and charm still linger for our community to enjoy; and it has now been listed on the Historic Sites Register of Montgomery County. For additional interesting information about the rich history of the surrounding Darnestown area, see the Darnestown Civic Association.

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