From the Allentown Messenger dated December 13, 1934.
For many years the members of the Allentown Presbyterian Church have dreamed of a remodeled and enlarged chapel fitted for the work of the church school and adapted to various activities of the average church. Over a long period a building fund for that purpose has grown slowly, and under the leadership of the present pastor, Dr. Robert W. Mark, their dream has come true.
August 10, 1934, saw ground broken for the new addition, about 40 X 40 feet, the plans of which called for an auditorium of good size, an adequate stage and roomy and well-equipped kitchen.
Charles B. Van Horn designed the new building and has acted as supervisor during the entire period of construction. Craig & Richardson, of Hightstown, were the contractors on the job, this firm being composed of Charles Craig and Harvey G. Richardson. Everett Kirby & Son, of Hamilton Square, did the mason work; V. A. Craig, of Hightstown, the plumbing and tinning, and Jack Barnes, of Mercerville, the slating. Shangle & Hunt, of Hightstown, furnished the lumber, and A. K. Leuckel & Co., of Trenton, the millwork. Charles Haverstraw and Frank Patercity, of Allentown, did the painting.
The new building, which is now completed, blends harmoniously with the old structure, around which much sacred sentiment clings, and also with the historic church by the side of which it so evidently belongs.
The plans committee was composed of Charles T. Satterthwaite, Mrs. J. Harold Smith, Mrs. George R. Smith and Milton Probasco. These four worked with the Board of Trustees, the president of which is Chester Wemple, and also with the Session of the church.
A kitchen committee was appointed to look after the furnishing of this most important part of a rural church, and the members serving in this capacity were Mrs. J. Harold Smith, Mrs. Charles T. Satterthwaite, Mrs. Russell B. Probasco, Mrs. George R. Smith and Mrs. A. R. Bates.
The ladies of the church gave a kitchen shower at the chapel last Friday afternoon, December 7, and the affair was largely attended. Numerous cooking utensils were received, while cash donations made the same day amounted to $27.75. Mrs. Charles T. Satterthwaite and Mrs. Albert Nelson poured tea for the visitors.
Dedication exercises were held on Sunday morning, December 9, at 10 o’clock, by the Church School, and there was a capacity attendance. Hugh M. Jansen presided, and the following took part: Mrs. Albert Nelson, representing former teachers of the school; John D. Rue, former superintendents, and Mrs. George T. Ford, for thirty years superintendent for the school’s Home Department. Elinor Smith sang a solo, and the classes of the school each reported the part they had contributed toward the furnishing of the new chapel: Beginner—basket of flowers, the basket to remain the property of the school; Mrs. C. B. Van Horn’s class—cocoa mats for the two vestibules; Mrs. R. B. Probasco’s class—13 flower bowls and holders; Mrs. W. C. Smith’s class—tumblers and salt and pepper shakers; Friendship Class--$100 toward the building fund, $125 toward kitchen furnishings, and a contribution toward furnishings of cloak room: three boys’ classes, taught by Frank M. Smith, Mrs. George R. Smith and Miss Italia Bertagni—umbrella stands (ordered).
A family church service at 11 a.m. followed the dedication. At this service most of the families on the church record were well represented. Dr. Mark preached a splendid sermon from the text “And He closed the Book,” likening the fulfilling of the prophecy of Isaiah to the material realization of the dream of the local church people for a new chapel. The message of the morning was closed with a challenge to the youth of the church to dare to get into the thick of things and not be satisfied with a sheltered life.
A banquet is planned for this Thursday evening, December 13, in the chapel, and Judge Harold B. Well, of Bordentown, has been secured as the speaker. A special program of music is also being arranged.
Those invited to sit at the speaker’s table included Judge and Mrs. Wells, Dr. and Mrs. James Ramsey Swain, of Philadelphia, the former a son of the late Dr. George Swain, pastor of the Allentown Presbyterian Church for thirty-seven years; Mrs. James A. Matheson, of Bound Brook, widow of a former pastor; Rev. Thomas Gribbin and Miss Frances Gribben of St. John’s Church, Rev. and Mrs. H. D. S. Coates, of the First Baptist Church; Rev. and Mrs. H. B. Johnson, of the Methodist Church; Rev. and Mrs. Edward Underwood, of Christ P. E. Church; Rev. and Mrs. B. W. Highgate, of Union A. M. E. Church; Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Mark and Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Satterthwaite. Mr. Satterthwaite will preside.
The following committee, chosen from the Mite Society of the church, is arranging for the banquet: Mrs. Frank S. Richardson, Mrs. William C. Smith, Mrs. Charles T. Satterthwaite and Mrs. Charles A. Spaulding. Plans are being made to serve 225 people.
From the “History of the Allentown Presbyterian Church,” written by the late Rev. James A. Matheson for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the church in 1925, we quote: “There stood years ago on the site of the Chapel an old building known as the Academy. The year of its erection we do not know, but mention of it is made in 1819. It was used for school and church purposes, and it is remembered by some as an unattractive, unpainted building. About 1856, the old academy was replaced by the present chapel. The basement of the new chapel was used for Sunday-school and other church meetings; the two upper floors were used for public school instruction, in which many of our people received a good part, if not their entire education. The entrance to the building was on the side nearest the church. In 1904, the chapel, which had been used for public school purposes until 1877, was remodeled and the entrance placed in the front.”
This is the third parish house built by Dr. Mark during his four pastorates. The first, at Woodbridge, had the distinction of being the first parish house in the Presbytery at that time—27years ago. A few years later, while preaching at Elizabeth, his second was erected, and now Allentown makes the third.
The churches of Allentown, as well as friend of the Presbyterian Church in other communities, rejoice with them that the dream of years has become a beautiful reality.