FPC History

First Presbyterian Church of McAllen
Serving this community since 1908

historic landmarkFPC McAllen Led the First Protestan Church Service in McAllen

First Presbyterian Church, McAllen, has enjoyed a long and storied history that closely coincides with the growth and development of the City of McAllen. In the fall of 1908, Rev. M. Dogget, led the first known Protestan church service in McAllen which included Presbyterian, Methodists, Baptists and Diciples of Christ. The service was held in an open space in a lumberyard lighted by oil lanterns. However, the church was not officially organized until December 13, 1908. In the late spring of 1909, Rev. Samuel M. Glasgow arrived to take charge of the Presbyterian work in the Valley. Rev. Glasgow served as a part-time pastor from 1909 until 1913 dividing his time between the Presbyterian Churches in Mercedes and McAllen.

The Wome's Missionary Society Was Instrumental in the Building of the FPC McAllen

Early in 1909 the Women's Missionary Society was organized and was instrumental in the building of the church. In January 1910, the congregation purchased property on the corner of 12th and Austin from the McAllen Town Company for "one dollar and other valuable considerations". In 1909, a loan of $200 was obtained to aid in the building of a house of worship. Construction began in 1909, and "the little white church" was completed in early 1910. Modest though it was, it was a prominent fixture in many pictures of early McAllen. In 1913, the church purchased additional property from McAllen Town Company for $100 cash and proceeded to build a manse.

Rev. William Thorburn became the first full time pastor in 1913, and for a short period of time after his arrival, strides were made in the growth of the church. However, the church declined in the years between 1914 and 1919, due to strained Mexican-American relations brought about by the Mexican Revolution and bandit troubles on both sides of the river.

The Rev. E. B. Paisley was assigned to the faltering church in early 1919, and organized a renewal effort. When Rev.  Paisley left in 1922, church membership had increased to 149 members. Rev. William H. Foster served the burgeoning church from 1922 until 1926. In 1926 Rev. Brooks I. Dickey was called as pastor. During Dr. Dickey's pastorate (1926-1934) a manse was build on 9th street, and 200 additional members were added.

An Educational Building Was Build

Under the leadership of the pastors from 1934 to 1960 (Rev. James W. Hassell, E. A. Lindsey, H. H. Hopper, E. T. Wood and W. H. Arnold) active campaigns to raise funds for erecting a new church were begun, which resulted in the development of a 3-unit Master Building Plan. First, the Fellowship Hall. which was also used as a temporary Sancturary. was completed in 1949. The second phase of the plan was the addition of the Educational Building, which was dedicated for use in 1960. During this same period of time (1953) the church began its sponsorship of the Lynn Flowers Pre-School, and in 1957 several members of the church were instrumental in organizing Iglesia Presbiteriana Betania, a Spanish speaking Presbyterian congregation.