Old Des Peres Church

Old Des Peres Church

Faith Des Peres has a rich history. With beginnings as Des Peres Presbyterian in a one-room stone building in 1833, serving as a stop for the underground railroad, a cemetery where unnamed slaves rest, a merger with Faith Presbyterian in 1992 to become Faith Des Peres Presbyterian Church on Clayton Road... we have always been a vibrant congregation.  

FDP Church (Clayton Road)

Faith and Des Peres (now known as Faith Des Peres) Presbyterian Church has a rich history. 

Our story began in 1833 when a group of early St. Louis settlers came by wagon from the east and built an old stone church on Geyer Road. Today, the church is still used and stands as a testament to those who dared to dream.

Fast forward some 125 years to a congregation that was growing along with the neighborhood around them.  They, too, dared to dream. They dreamed of building a new church, one in which they would worship and give thanks to God for the ministry that had shaped them thus far and the ministry that would mold them in the future.  In 1961, this dream became a reality and the sanctuary on Clayton Road was built.

In 1992, two congregations joined and dared to dream about what they could do in mission and ministry together.  Faith Presbyterian and Des Peres Presbyterian Churches merged and defied the odds by building on the best ministry practices each had to offer, thereby creating a stronger, unified congregation.

In 2006, discussions began about enhancing the Clayton Road church in order to provide a place that is accessible and hospitable to everyone.  The congregation began to dream of a space that would serve as the center for the genuine church fellowship it treasures. 

In 2008, this dream, like other dreams, became a reality.  In the Gathering Space, new members have been welcomed, families have found solace following funerals, worship services have been held, classes have met, weekly fellowship has taken place, the community has been welcomed, and young and old have forged friendships across the generations.

Old Des Peres Church (Geyer Road)

The original Old Des Peres Presbyterian Church, nicknamed the "Old Meeting House", was built in 1834 by a group of settlers who came by buckboard and wagon from the East and South. The little rock church was constructed on three acres of land donated by the Hartshorn, Maddox and Small families, each family having donated one acre. Elijah P. Lovejoy was among the early ministers of the church before he left the area for Alton, Illinois.

The original land donors stipulated that the congregation set aside part of the land for a cemetery. The cemetery was to have a designated section where slaves would be buried. Grave markers bear the names of the Geyer and Mcknight families, whose descendants still live in the area. Slaves were buried in unmarked graves. In their honor, a stone memorial has been placed in the southeast corner of the cemetery as testimony to the grievous reality of their lives.

Folklore tells that Yankee soldiers nicknamed the church the "Old Stone Meeting House" during the Civil War. Considering that slave owners originally contributed land for the church, it is also interesting that the church was rumored to be a well-known stop along the Underground Railroad.

As the automobile restructured the surrounding neighborhoods and roads, the congregation struggled to keep the little church and its grounds intact. In the 1970s, during the ministry of Rev. Robert Tabscott, the church undertook the task of restoring the old stone building. Those efforts were rewarded in 1978 when the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places, insuring its future as a permanent part of the community. Major repairs completed in 1993 have allowed for increased use of the building. And a columbarium installed on the grounds now provides a final resting place for church members and other interested persons. 

The Old Des Peres Church is located at 2250 North Geyer Road in Frontenac. Meetings and programs held at the Old Meeting House are open to everyone.

The following documents will give you a more concise history about the Old Des Peres Church.

1938 Article
1997 Article
Early History
Tabscott Interview
Des Peres Presbyterian Churchyard
Cemetery Census
Columbarium Census