Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them...
In 1784, a summer meeting place called a "tent," said to be owned by Archibald McFadden, was built at Blue Spring, about three-fourths of a mild north of Frankstown, at the head of Scotch Valley. The settlers worshiped there until the church was organized in 1788 and known as the Presbyterian Church of Frankstown, later changed to "Hollidaysburg." The congregation was one of the eleven original members of the Huntington Presbytery when it was organized in 1795.
In 1790, the "tent" structure was replaced by a round log structure built in the old section of the Presbyterian Cemetery. The building was often referred to as "Bard's Meeting House," but was destroyed by a fire in 1818. A hewn wood structure was immediately rebuilt on the same location.
In 1836, two lots at the northeast corner of Penn and Walnut Streets in Hollidaysburg were purchased to build a brick building, which was completed in 1837, faced Walnut Street and included a cupola. In 1844, adjoining property was purchased at Walnut and Clark Streets and was used to build an "academy" building where young men were educated in preparation for college. This was overseen by Professor John Miller, later the first superintendent of Altoona City Schools. The academy lasted until 1859 when the building caught fire and even Professor Miller had to be carried out by his students, having been paralyzed by fear.
In 1868, after thirty-one years of use, the brick sanctuary building built on the current church campus was found to be unsound - particularly the walls. After conducting a subscription (pledge) drive, worship of the three-hundred member congregation was moved to the Hollidaysburg Courthouse and construction began on our current Sanctuary structure. On September 9, 1869, a cornerstone was laid on the southwest corner of the building with a time capsule inside. The capsule has never been found. The Norman-style sanctuary building that faced Penn Street was completed in 1871, however, the southwest tower was not completed until 1884.
The first electricity was added to the pulpit and the choir loft in 1911, with the full church electric conversion being completed in 1915.
In 1967, thanks in large part to the bequest of long-time member Miss Clara Smith, the church added the Christian Education Building to the campus.
The Presbyterian Church of Duncansville
In 1846, the Hollidaysburg Church founded the East Freedom Presbyterian Church in Duncansville. The following year this house of worship was constructed and dedicated. Eventually, the name was changed to the Presbyterian Church of Duncansville. In total, seventeen pastors served the Duncansville Church, most notably the Rev. Julian Park, who was named Pastor Emeritus, before the church merged with the Hollidaysburg Church in 1969.
In over two hundred and thirty years of our storied history, the ministers of our church have been as diversified as the times during which they served. Each has enriched our church with their gifts and skills.
Rev. David Bard (1788-1799)
Born in Lessburg, Virginia, Rev. Bard graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) then studied privately before being ordained by the Presbytery at Lower Conotheaque Church on Autochton and Gum Spring, Virginia in 1779. He served at the Bedford Presbyterian Church before being called to Frankstown. He also served as a national legislator.
Rev. James Galbraith (1816-1835)
Known for being very literate and articulate.
Rev. William Gibson (1839-1841)
Born in Ryegate, Vermont. Rev. Gibson attended Jefferson College before teaching and studying theology. His first pastorate was in Philadelphia in 1832 before coming to Frankstown. He served as a Chaplain for the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War. He later was pastor at the Duncansville Church and is buried in our Presbyterian Cemetery.
Rev. Dr. David McKinney (1841-1852)
Born in Kishacoquillas, Pennsylvania, Dr. McKinney received his undergraduate degree from Jefferson College before completing his theological training from Princeton. Following his pastorate in Hollidaysburg, he became the founder and editor of "The Presbyterian Banner" in Philadelphia, and later became the co-editor of "The Northwestern Presbyterian" in Chicago.
Rev. David X. Junkin (1853-1860)
Born in Mercer, Pennsylvania, Rev. Junkin received his undergraduate degree from Jefferson College before attending Princeton for his theological education. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1833 serving churches in Philadelphia, Greenwich, New Jersey, and Washington, D. C. before being called to Hollidaysburg. During the Civil War he served as a Chaplain in the Navy, receiving his commission, it is believed, because of a close friendship with President Buchanan.
Rev. David H. Barron, D.D. (1861-1902)
Born in Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania, Rev. Barron received his undergraduate degree from Jefferson College before attending Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. He later received and honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 1882. Over his forty-year ministry at Hollidaysburg Church, he oversaw many projects and improvements, including being one of the main impetus responsible for creating Highland Hall.
Rev. Edwin M. Bowman (1903-1907)
Born in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania, Rev. Bowman received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wooster before attending Western Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1886 by the Presbytery of Blairsville, serving two churches before coming to Hollidaysburg after the death of Dr. Barron.
Rev. William Sydney Miller (1907-1913)
Born in Port Perry, Pennsylvania, Rev. Miller attended Princeton University for his undergraduate studies before going to Western Theological Seminary. In his younger years, he traveled to Europe and the Holy Land, giving him stories to share for the remainder of his ministry. He retired from the Hollidaysburg Church and received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Wooster.
Rev. William Harvey Orr (1914-1919)
Born in Putneyville, Pennsylvania, Rev. Orr attended Clarion State Normal School for college before attending Western Theological Seminary. After serving his first church in Ohio, he attended further graduate school at John Hopkins University, before being called to Hollidaysburg.
Rev. T. Stacy Capers (1921-1951)
Born in Arcadia, Louisiana, Rev. Capers attended the University of Georgia and Mercer University for undergraduate before going to seminary at Princeton. During his thirty year tenure at the Hollidaysburg Church, the congregation would often remark that his best sermon was when he walked down the street greeting his fellow man.
Rev. George Reynolds Howard (1952-1960)
Born in Wellsburg, West Virginia, Rev. Howard received his undergraduate degree from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, before attending Western Theological Seminary. He also pursued additional studies at Biblical Seminary in New York City. It was during Rev. Howard's tenure here that our annual Christmas Eve service began.
Rev. James G. McConnell (1960-1965)
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Rev. McConnell attended Monmouth College for his undergraduate studies before going to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (the successor to Western Theological Seminary). He and his family were the final pastor's family to live in the Penn Street Manse. In 1970, he became the Director of Development and Church Relations at DuBuque Theological Seminary.
Rev. Ormond L. Hampton, Jr. (1966-1972)
Born in Wilmington, Deleware, Rev. Hampton attended Franklin and Marshall College before going to Princeton for Seminary. He oversaw the addition of the Christian Education Building and the merger between the Hollidaysburg and Duncansville churches during his tenure.
Rev. Walter K. Davis (1971-1972)
During Rev. Hampton's pastorate, the Hollidaysburg Church was also served by an Assistant Pastor, who was shared with the Williamsburg Church.
Rev. James M. Hanly (1973-1987)
Born in Monessen, Pennsylvania, Rev. Hanly attended Mount Union College for undergraduate studies before pursuing his theological degree at Princeton Seminary, with additional studies at New York Theological Seminary. During his tenure at the Hollidaysburg Church, Rev. Hanly also served as the Moderator of the Huntington Presbytery in 1986.
Rev. Dr. Daniel Steven Williams (1988-1995)
Born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Rev. Williams attended Geneva College for his undergraduate studies before going to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond in 1989.
Rev. James M. Fleming (1998-2002)
Born in Delaware, Rev. Fleming attended Bowdoin College for undergraduate before going to Princeton for Seminary. He is remembered for helping to bring the LOGOS program to Wednesday nights at FPCH, which is the predecessor to our current JAM (Jesus and Me) program. He is also a direct descendant of Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin.
Rev. Chuck Monts (2004-2016)
Born in Redford, Michigan, outside of Detroit, Rev. Months attended Westminster College in New Wilmington for undergraduate before going to Princeton Seminary. He was ordained in 1989, serving churches in New Jersey and New York before being called to Hollidaysburg. He has continued to serve churches in New York and Pennsylvania since leaving. His great love in ministry is in mission work and bicycling - especially when he can combine the two.
Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith (2019- )
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Rev. McElwee-Smith attended Wake Forest University for her undergraduate studies before pursuing her theological degree at Vanderbilt University. She was ordained by the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy in 2009. She served churches in South Carolina and Louisiana before being called to Hollidaysburg.
Rev. David McKinney
Rev. David Junkin
Rev. David Barron
Rev. Edwin Bowman
Rev. William Miller
Rev. William Orr
Rev. Stacy Capers
Rev. George Howard
Rev. Dr. James McConnell
Rev. Ormond Hampton
Rev. Walter Davis
Pastor Emeritus, Duncansville,
Rev. Julian Park
Rev. James Hanly
Rev. Daniel Williams
Rev. James Fleming
Rev. Charles Monts
Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith