Archived Page: 175 Anniversary
Celebrate the Journey 1827-2002
Third Presbyterian Church
Celebrates 175 Years of Ministry
Main Street  

One week after the completion of the temporary wooden chapel, plans were made for the erection of a permanent building on the Main Street frontage of the lot. With 150 members, a two-story stone building with a bell tower containing the town clock and seating about 700 people, was built. The dignified 58 by 75 foot building had four columns and an impressive portico. Typically there was a ten percent cost overrun, the total being nearly $10,000. The pulpit stood on a raised platform with the entrance doors on either side so that latecomers entered facing the congregation. 

It was in this church in 1830-31 that Charles G. Finney centered his community-wide evangelistic crusade which changed and improved the life of Rochester. One hundred fifty-nine people joined the church. 

A series of brief pastorates followed. Dissension arose between those who wished to give theology practical expression and those who "wished to restrict the church to performance of private spiritual life and were wary of reform." In 1832 there was a division in the church, and several leaving members left with the minister to form the Free Presbyterian Church, which disbanded six years later. 

The church had overbuilt; they were deeply in debt and offered to creditors 1,000-year leases for five or six pews depending on the debt. Even then the church was sold only six years after its construction to Second Baptist Church for $6,000, which was $1,000 less than its indebtedness. The Baptists occupied the church until 1832, when the church burned. That congregation changed its name to Baptist Temple and now worships at Clover Street and Highland Avenue.  


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