Historic Bike Tour Stop 12 : First Presbyterian Church 

Chapin Memorial Church 001
First Presbyterian Church postcard

On March 30, 1834, the First Presbyterian Church of Niles held their inaugural service at a schoolhouse on the corner of Sycamore and Third Streets. Reverend Alexander B. Brown served as the first pastor for the local congregation. The first church building was constructed in 1835, but replaced in 1849 with a white wooden structure, seen in the postcard below.  

On June 4, 1915 construction began on the current building.  The church was a gift from the estate of Charles Chapin, the son of Henry and Ruby.  Charles died in 1912 and his will stated that $200,000 should go for the building of this new church.  His son,  Homer, dedicated the structure, called Chapin Memorial Church, in memory of his grandparents,  Henry Austin and Ruby Nooney Chapin, their daughters Sarah Banfield and Carrie Chapin, their sons Charles Augustus and Henry C. Chapin and Homer's daughter, Irene. 

Since its dedication on January 16, 1916, several additions and renovations have been made to the church building.  

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Postcard showing the 1849 First Presbyterian Church building.  This postcard also shows Trinity Episcopal  (middle) and the First Baptist Church (left). First Baptist is no longer standing. 

Charles Chapin
Portrait of Charles Chapin. Charles donated the money for the current First Presbyterian Church building. The Chapin family were active members of the Presbyterian churches in Edwardsburg and Niles.