Our History

In 1865, at the end of the Civil War, when Webster Groves had its beginnings, Mrs. Martha E. Moody led a group of 16 who signed a petition to create a much discussed Presbyterian Church. Only 100 people lived in the village at that time.

This petition was presented to the Presbytery of St. Louis, organized after the arrival of the Rev. Salmon Giddings in 1816. The approved petition provided for the erection of the new church in 1867 on the present site through the personal efforts of 26 new members aided by small donations from the Presbytery for the land and building materials. It was a small wooden building facing North Gore Avenue, then called Church Street. The original 26 members signed the covenant establishing the church on March 29, 1866.

Six pastors served the congregation in these early years before the church burned to the ground on March 1, 1890. The pastor then, Dr. J. Howard Nixon, inspired the people to erect a new church building where the Elizabeth Holloway Woods Memorial Chapel now stands.

Another fire damaged that building in 1918, and in 1924 the cornerstone was laid for a new sanctuary which is essentially the structure that stands today. The chapel and adjoining buildings were extensively damaged in a fire on New Year’s Day 1958. Extensive remodeling has occurred within the sanctuary and additions to the building enlarged the Sunday School, provided for youth activities, a cooperative nursery school (now the Early Childhood Center) and Kids’ Day Out program, needed office space and a congregational fellowship hall.

Three more pastors followed Dr. Nixon before the arrival of Dr. David M. Skilling in 1902, an era of long and devoted ministries. Dr. Skilling was followed in 1935 by Dr. Harry T. Scherer, then Dr. Reuben Field Pieters, whose untimely death occurred after only a one-year tenure. Subsequent ministers were Dr. George E. Sweazey, who in 1969 was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., then Dr. Daniel C. Thomas, Dr. Arthur D. Webster, Jr. and Dr. John S. Carothers. Current head of staff, Pastor Ed Zumwinkel, was called in 2015 and has brought a new wave of energy to the congregation, particularly in the areas of fellowship and social outreach. We continue to delight in each new direction the Spirit brings!


We seek to live Christ's love, welcome all people and joyfully serve God.