First Congregational Church and Parish House

Status: Preserved

Address: 234 South Watkins Street, Memphis

Built: 1910

Architectural Style: Georgian Revival

Original Function/Purpose: Church

The First Congregational Church and Parish House was placed on the National Register on July 21, 1980.

History: Founded by 25 anti-slavery members, the congregation was originally known as Union Congregational Church. During the Yellow Fever Epidemic of the late nineteenth century, the church served as a boys’ school under the stewardship of Professor Lyon Gardiner Tyler, son of the tenth President of the United States. Over time, the name of the church was changed to First Congregational Church in 1867, then to Strangers Congregational Church in 1881, and finally to its present name in 1910. The present classical Modified Ionic building was designed by Walk C. Jones, Sr. and dedicated in 1910. In keeping with the congregants’ open-mindedness, the church became an “Open and Affirming” congregation by welcoming gays and lesbians into the church in 1991. The congregation has now moved into the former Temple Baptist Church at 1000 S. Cooper and continues to serve a variety of civic and educational purposes. The original church building pictured here has been converted into apartments.

 

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN