Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, Organized 1890

by Paula Bosse

oak-cliff-presbyterian_smOak Cliff Presbyterian Church, ca. 1897 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across this photograph of a church a couple of days ago and was mesmerized by its charming woodiness. According to its caption, it was the Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Ninth Street and St. George (now Patton). Its first pastor was the Rev. W. L. Lowrance who had organized the church in 1890 with fewer than twenty members. Church membership grew steadily, and in 1923, having finally outgrown the small wood frame building, the congregation moved to their next location at Tenth and Madison (contributing to Tenth Street’s appearance in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as the street having more churches per mile than any other street in the world). At some point this lovely church was razed.

I’ve found little else on its earliest history. but I came across this advertisement placed in The Dallas Morning News in 1891:

simpson_oak-cliff-land-donation_dmn_031491(DMN, March 14, 1891)

Col. James B. Simpson was something of a learned Renaissance-man around Dallas. He had been the editor of The Dallas Herald for many years and was a civic leader with real estate interests. I’m not sure if this ad has anything to do with the establishment of the Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, but it’s interesting to note that construction of the new church was mentioned as being under construction one month after this ad’s appearance. Time was running out for those Oak Cliff sinners (even though one newspaper report stated that the building wasn’t occupied until 1893).

Rev. Lowrance, an apparently well-liked and respected pastor, retired at the end of 1903.

lowrance_dmn_122903-photo“Dr. W. L. Lowrance of Oak Cliff”

lowrance_dmn_dmn_122903(DMN, Dec. 29, 1903 — click for larger image)

The Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church lives on, now on S. Hampton. One can only assume that the building it occupies today is not quite as charming as the little woody one that was built 120 years ago.


Top photo (by the Rogers Photo Studio, circa 1897) appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of Legacies magazine, here.

Though the first Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church was on Ninth St., the second one was on Tenth St., and that seems reason enough to direct attention to the article “Road to Glory: Tenth Street Becomes Church Street” by René Schmidt — it appeared in the same issue of Legacies as the church photo, and you can read it here.

Read more about this “Street of Churches” and its staggering fourteen churches (!) in the May 1, 1950 edition of The Dallas Morning News.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.