Founded in 1829, the First Presbyterian Church initially shared a building, known as Union Church, with the First Baptist Church. In 1852, they were able to move into their own church, but the building was seized during the Civil War and was used by Union troops as a stable, severely abused and the pews burned for firewood. By 1869, all that remained of the church were damaged brick walls and the church bell. The congregation moved back in with their Baptist friends until 1895 when the “new” sanctuary was dedicated. The present building, constructed in 1885 at Jefferson and Washington streets. is one of Athens’ oldest landmarks with its stained glass windows, towering steeple and bell, pipe organ, and beautiful sanctuary.
The First Presbyterian Church in Athens Is part of the North Alabama Hallelujah Trail of Sacred Places, a driving tour of 32 churches that are at least 100 years old, stand on their original sites, still hold services, and are accessible to the public.