First Presbyterian Church started on Sunday, January 27, 1874 by N.C. Robinson (state missionary) and the Rev. William Fletcher, who became our first pastor. That first Sunday there was an awful storm, and only seven of the sixteen charter members came to worship. The church first gathered in a modest little building downtown. There was not a lot of money early on, so the women of the church pasted colored tissue paper to the windows to simulate stained glass.
In 1910, after 36 years as an organized congregation, the church purchased another congregation’s building, which sat behind the county courthouse. This had been the Covenanter’s Church, but that congregation had disbanded after a large number of its members came to the Presbyterian Church. One of the main reasons for this was that in the 1890s, there was an election for mayor in town. The thirteen churches in town had their candidate running against the candidate supported by the thirteen saloons in town. The saloon candidate won, largely because the Covenanter’s Church did not allow its members to vote! They were so upset about this that many of them left the Covenanter’s Church for the Presbyterian Church.
The building our church bought was moved to a new site downtown, where it was renovated and largely rebuilt. The church met in that facility for over 40 years, until we outgrew it. In the winter of 1959, the congregation started a building campaign, and by May of 1963, they had built our current facility. The old building was torn down just a few years ago, after serving as a Bingo hall and antiques store.
Over the past 90 years, our church has had only four pastors: Rev. E.J. Nickerson (1920-1964), Rev. Walter Millett (1964-1972), Rev. Dr. Burton Knudsen (1973-2003, Pastor Emeritus since 2008), Rev. Patrick Marshall (2005-2013), Rev. Kathleen Split (2015-2017).
Today, the First Presbyterian Church is a thriving community of over 240 men, women, and children, all striving to live the way of Jesus in our little corner of Nebraska.