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The First Presbyterian Church, on the corner of E. Main Street and N. Country Road (Rt. 25A) in Smithtown, was constructed in the mid-1820s. The children of Richard Smith, the founder of Smithtown, donated the land for the church, and an earlier church building was moved here around 1750; the earlier church had been fired upon by the British during the Revolutionary War, while Reverend Joshua Hart was preaching. In April 1823, the parish hired George Curtiss to build a new "House of Worship of Amighty God." The new Presbyterian Meeting House was officially dedicated on September 9th 1827. The First Presbyterian Church building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977. The church is still open as part of a Presbyterian parish.

Ca. 1950s postcard of First Presbyterian Church, Smithtown (Nester's Map & Guide Corp.)

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2010 view of First Presbyterian Church from opposite side of Rt. 25A (DanTD)

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First Presbyterian Church (red arrow) on 1858 inset map of Smithtown (Robert P. Smith)

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This parish is the first Presbyterian church to be organied in Smithtown and originated around 1675. The architect of the First Presbyterian Church building still standing in Smithtown was George Curtiss; the contract called for the buildnig to be modeled on a church in Patchogue. Curtiss was to be paid $825 for the labor and the Trustees were to supply the building materials. Curtiss wa expected to "take the timber standing in the woods for the frame" but the Trustees would "cart the same, either ot the mill for sawing, or on the spot for framing after same is squared in the woods."

Reverend Ithamer Pillsbury officiated at the official dedication of the church in 1827. The old church building was put up for public auction. The seven members of the church in the 1820s were: Obadiah Smith, Susannah Smith, Goerge and Elizabeth Phillips, William Saxton, Dorcus Saxton, and Mary Blydenburgh. Soon, the church had fourteen new members with surnames of Newton, Norton, Wickes, and Platt. The Trustees of the church called upon Curtiss once again in 1835 to build the parsonage on land donated by William Blydenburgh. The congregation included 74 people by 1840.

The architectural style of the wood frame church building is Federal, with a hint of Gothic influence in the corner spirelets of the three upper clock tower stages. A Palladian window above the entrance has an elliptical arch. One odd feature was the placement of the pulpit in front of the main entrance (no sneaking in late for services without everyone seeing!). The church organ was installed in 1909, and the building was first electrified in 1916. The Narthex (library) was added in 1898 to be a space for Sunday School, social gatherings and meetings. A Parish Hall was completed in 1950 to the rear of the church and an education wing was added in 1963. A low picket fence surrounding the churchyard was removed in the 1950s. Some wood frame horse sheds were still standing in the 1970s when the property was documented for New York State's historic preservation department; they had been moved further west in 1963.

Commemorative plaques have been placed in the vestibule behind the pulpit and under the bell tower in the balcony. Historic photographs and documents are displayed in the Narthex. The church anchors the west edge of the Branch Historic District, along Main Street, with buildings dating from the 1720s to 1840s. West of this location, the modern-day commercial district of Smithtown was established along Main Street.

There is limited in-person attendance at masses due to the pandemic, but services are being live streamed on Facebook, as of spring 2021.

First Presbyterian Church. History, First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown. Accessed April 8th 2021.

Harris, Bradley . Lannon, Kiernan. Ruff, Joshua. Smithtown. Images of America. Charleston, SC. Arcadia Publishing, 2011.

Mehalick, J. Richard. Church and Community, 1675-1975: The Story of the First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown, New York. Hicksville, NY. Exposition Press, 1976.

Turrell, Virginia. Building-Structure Inventory Form, First Presbyterian Church, Smithtown, New York State Division for Historic Preservation. November 8th 1972. Accessed April 11th 2021.

Winzelburg, Elissa F. Building-Structure Inventory Form, First Presbyterian Church, Smithtown, New York State Division for Historic Preservation. June 15th 1975. Accessed April 11th 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Nester's Map & Guide Corp., New York, NY, #LI-13,_New_York)#/media/File:Smithtown_1st_Presbyterian_Church.JPG

Library of Congress: