FPC History Archives
Visit the FPC History Archives for much more about the rich history of our church, including newspaper articles, writings of the pastors, sketches, photos and more.
Founded as the “Church on the Elizabeth River”, First Presbyterian Church began its history in Hampton Roads nearly one hundred years before the birth of our nation, sometime before 1678.
Sometime between 1670 and 1678, a number of Scotch Presbyterians migrated to this area of Virginia and settled on the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River. True to their Presbyterian heritage they gathered in different homes for the worship of God: "the house of Mr. Thomas Ivy on the Eastern Branch; Mr, John Roberts on the Western Branch and Mr. John Dickson on the Southern Branch."
Records document the succession of pastors and other significant church events up until 1716. There then followed a period of eighty-five years when no records are available.
In 1801 Rev. Benjamin Grigsby was appointed by the General Assembly at Philadelphia to itinerate through the lower parts of Virginia. He found an organized church in the Borough of Norfolk and was invited to take charge of the congregation. A church building was erected in 1802 on the corner of Bank and Charlotte Streets which was known as the "Bell Church".
Occupying our current facility since 1912, First Presbyterian Church was created through the consolidation of two Norfolk churches. Throughout its history, FPC has been active in missions, education and the expansion of Presbyterian churches to better serve our community. We have had a significant role in the founding of each of the following local churches:
First Presbyterian, Portsmouth, 1822
Second Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1872
Third Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1884
Armstrong Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1890
Knox Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1898
Ghent Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1901
Westminister Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1914
First Presbyterian, Virginia Beach, 1920
Ocean View Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1921
Coleman Place Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1929
Royster Memorial Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1941
Oakdale Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1949
Calvin Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1955.
Donna Bluemink, a member of FPC, maintains the FPC History Archives site on the church's behalf with a great deal of additional historical information.