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First Presbyterian Church

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Old Stone Church
1853–1855, Heard and Porter; 1884 rebuilt, Charles Schweinfurth. 91 Public Sq.
  • (Photograph by Barbara Powers)

First Presbyterian Church, also known as Old Stone Church, is the oldest surviving building in Public Square. Designed by Heard and Porter, the Romanesque Revival sandstone structure features square towers flanking a gable-roofed central section dominated by a triple arch window. Gutted by fire in 1884, the church was rebuilt within the original walls by Charles Schweinfurth. The key interior motif of his design, a semicircular arch with wooden tie beams at the base, resting on a pair of arched braces, recalls H.H. Richardson’s Trinity Church (1873–1877) in Boston. Old Stone Church’s decorative scheme includes painted and frescoed walls by Charles’ brother Julius Schweinfurth (employed at Peabody and Stearns in Boston beginning in 1879), along with stained glass windows by John LaFarge, Louis C. Tiffany, and Joseph and Richard Lamb.


Corner, James, and Alison Bick Hirsch.  The landscape imagination: collected essays of James Corner, 1990-2010. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2014.

Deegan, Gregory G., and Toman, James A. The Heart of Cleveland: Public Square in the 20th Century. Cleveland: Cleveland Landmarks Press, Inc., 1999.

“History and Architecture.” Old Stone Church. Accessed November 15, 2018.

Johannesen, Eric. Cleveland Architecture 1876-1976. Cleveland: The Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979.

Johannesen, Eric, “Cleveland Public Square,” Cuyahoga County, Ohio. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1975. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Lake, D. J. Atlas of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Philadelphia: Titus, Simmons and Titus, 1874.

Schweinfurth, Julius Adolphe papers. Archives and Special Collections, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, Massachusetts.

Writing Credits

Marcia E. Moll
Richard J. Sicha
Barbara Powers



  • 1853

  • 1884


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Marcia E. Moll, Richard J. Sicha, "First Presbyterian Church", [Cleveland, Ohio], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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