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Westminster Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg, PA

July 7, 2017

Unlike Idlewild Presbyterian in Memphis, which I know only through an architect’s rendering, Westminster Presbyterian in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania exists in these two versions — a good thing because it has been demolished. The diagonal emphasis implies a type “D” sanctuary which may or may not have enjoyed an adjacent Sunday school wing.

  1. John Robinson.wrote this on the Organ Historical Society website in 2008 — “The organ and church were damaged by fire in the 1970s or 80s. It stood empty and open to the weather for many years until the church finally collapsed. The site is still an empty lot. The church was an impressive Gothic Revival brownstone building. The nave was focused on a chancel/choir area in one corner of the room, accessible by a wide set of steps. The main entrance to the church was in the opposite corner, opening from the intersection of the two streets.”

  2. Russell N. Grimes permalink

    My father, Newell Cleveland Grimes, was the minister of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg PA, from 1937 to 1951. Our family lived in the manse across the street at 1502 Green Street, which still stands. Rev. Grimes moved to First Presbyterian Church, Pottsville, PA in 1951, but Westminster remained an active congregation for several years, until it merged with Harris Street Presbyterian, and the Westminster Church building was sold to a black congregation which occupied it for several more years until it burned. The stone walls remained for some time until finally the wreckage was removed and the property became a vacant lot with no trace of the beautiful church that once stood there. Today that space is the parking lot of a movie theater. I have some pictures (inside and outside) and information about the church, if you are interested.

    Russell N.Grimes
    Emeritus Professor of Chemistry
    University of Virginia
    Charlottesville, VA 22910

    • Hello, Prof Grimes: We do appreciate your recollections of the church, an entry to church history we often find. Yes, I would very much like to see anything that will help us understand the interior. If you have scans of photos, they can me emailed to Our snail-mail is Ron Ramsay / POB 2235 / Fargo, ND 58108-2235. Thanks.

      • Grimes, Russell N. (rng) permalink

        I will check my files, which were moved (in boxes) with us when my wife and I when we relocated to a senior living community two years ago. I believe I have information that will be of interest to you, assuming it hasn’t been lost in the shuffle.

        Regards, Russ Grimes


      • Russ Grimes permalink

        Did you receive the information I sent to on Westminster Presbyterian, Harrisburg PA?

        Thanks, RNG

      • Hi, Russ: I’ve been preoccupied with some other matters at school. Will reply soon. Thanks for your patience.

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