A Brief History of First United Presbyterian Church of De Pere
On December 1, 1849 - when the State of Wisconsin was one year old and there were less than 200 souls in the frontier village of De Pere - a small group of men and women met in the only public building in this village, the Brown County Courthouse on the corner of George and Wisconsin Streets, and formally organized the church under the auspices of the Presbyterian Board of Domestic Missions. They were the pioneers of our city and with their families were among the first Americans to penetrate the wilderness of Northern Wisconsin. They were Scottish Presbyterians.
In 1854 the congregation had completed the first church building in our city. A parochial school was also begun as there was no public school in the community. In 1884 fire swept a large segment of the community and the church building was among the casualties. A new edifice was built on the corner of North Michigan and James Streets - completed and dedicated in October 1887 - and served the growing congregation until 1962 when the present church was built. It has been expanded in two successive additions as the needs of the growing congregation required. The last addition and bell tower were completed in 1989. [The bell in the tower is from the former church building and has been used to call people to worship since 1887]. The church has been served by seventeen Presbyterian ministers since the Reverend John Stewart in 1849.
Psalm 127:1 says 'Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.' This we believe.
Excerpts from Virginia Denis's historical submission
(submitted in 1990)