Dutch Reformed Settlers from New York State, hailing from two small villages named Montgomery and Hopewell, arrived in this area in October 1795. Six families chose to take the route over land to Pittsburgh Pa, board flat boats come down the Ohio river, go up the little Miami river, and then up sycamore creek, which at that time was much larger than it is now. They were soon gathering for worship in a small log house on the Sycamore Creek near today’s Bethesda North Hospital campus.
When George Washington was president and three years before Ohio became a state, The Rev James Kemper in 1801 formally organized worshipers into a congregation named the Sycamore Creek Congregation. He served as the minister from 1801- 1807. In 1803 the name of the congregation was changed to Hopewell Presbyterian and moved to a larger log building on the present site of Hopewell cemetery near the intersection of Montgomery and Deerfield roads. A path leads from the iron gate on Montgomery Road back to a square plot of ground on which there are no graves. This is where the old church stood. In the pioneer section of the cemetery, you will find the names of many of Montgomery, Ohio’s earliest settlers and founders of our church. Including six were Revolutionary War veterans.
In 1819 the congregation moved again to a temporary site called the “Academy” in downtown Montgomery, Ohio. It sat opposite of where a new church was being built on Shelly Lane. June of 1829 construction began. The bricks for the Shelly Lane building were made by church member and Elder James Jones who had a brick kiln. This building still stands today at Shelly Lane and Ted Gregory Lane in downtown Montgomery. It’s currently occupied by Fellowship Baptist Church.
A favorite story regarding the 1829 building of the Shelly Lane church is about Mr. George Moore who was a teacher at the Academy, a private girl’s school. When the church building was started, Mr. Moore chaffed the bricklayers about their speed, saying that he could come out of the school room and lay more bricks in a day than they did. They challenged him; he accepted and he succeeded, with the help from some of the girls from the school. As a result, the congregation was meeting in the building by 1830 although the building was not complete until 1833.
Our Church was incorporated by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio on February 19, 1845.
In 1867 Hopewell Presbyterian changed their name to Montgomery Presbyterian Church to correspond with the name of the village where it was located.
In 1951 Montgomery Presbyterian Church celebrated its 150th anniversary. Members of Blue Ash Presbyterian, Maderia Presbyterian, Silverwood Presbyterian and Somerset Presbyterian – all of whom went out and organized churches from Montgomery Presbyterian. – joined with us in this celebration! We were the mother church to these new churches.
The village of Montgomery grew rapidly in the fifties and sixties and it was realized that the church needed more modern facilities and room to grow. So reluctantly, it was decided to move from the heart of Montgomery to 9994 Zig Zag Road, on land that had been recently willed to the church by Earl Cosbey.
A time capsule was placed as a corner stone laying service was conducted by the Free Mason’s and the Rev. William Graler on May 20, 1962. The Sanctuary dedication took place July 1, 1962.
In 1976 a new Fellowship Hall and more Sunday school rooms were added. 1984 saw the front court yard and fountain addition. In 1996 the Sanctuary was remodeled, along with a gathering room addition and the enclosure of the interior court yard to allow indoor access to Fellowship Hall.
Montgomery Presbyterian church served our community in witness and faith for 222 years, with over 44 ministers, worshiped in five buildings and has had three different names.
On April 23rd, 2023, Blue Ash Presbyterian and Montgomery Presbyterian came back together to form Evergreen Presbyterian Church at the site of the former Montgomery Presbyterian Church.
Now we look forward to the next chapter of our long history under a new name, Evergreen.
Excerpts have been taken from documents and written history. Thanks to Mary Todd, Rev. Peters, Viola Steffens, Rev. Graler, and historian Nancy Detrick for their work on our Church history.