Old Stone Church is open for tours each weekday from 9am to 4pm.
Our front doors are open most weekdays from 11am to 3pm. If the doors are closed, please enter through our Ontario entrance (1380 Ontario St.). Ring the bell and our office administrator will let you in.
If you have a group of 10 or more, we strongly encourage you to contact us with an ideal day and time so we can ensure a docent is available.
A Distinguished Past
The Old Stone Church, long a downtown Cleveland landmark, has a congregation dating back to 1820. Officially known as The First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland, it was founded at a time when Cleveland was a village of a few hundred people. As Cleveland has grown in size and importance, The Old Stone Church has kept pace, becoming a symbol of spiritual leadership, community involvement and stability in the heart of the city.
- Our congregation was originally formed in September 1820. Among the 16 men and women who signed the charter was Rebecca Carter, who was one of the first permanent white settlers in Cleveland.
- The first church building was dedicated in 1834. Since it was made of gray sandstone, it became known as “The Stone Church”; as the sandstone darkened, it was later called “The Old Stone Church”. A slightly larger structure was constructed in 1853 on the original site as Cleveland began to grow rapidly.
- A disastrous fire hit Old Stone in March 1857, spreading from the roof to the 250-foot steeple. American industrialist and Cleveland resident Amasa Stone led the successful campaign to rebuild the church on the original property.
- A Service of Thanksgiving was held at the end of the American Civil War, with a new Peace Bell being raised in the belfry. When Abraham Lincoln’s cortege stopped at Public Square, people were called to his memorial service inside the church. A pew where mourners wept still stands in the church to this day.
- Old Stone is the only remaining building to have been in existence during the lighting of Public Square with Charles Brush’s arc light in 1879.
- A second fire struck the church in the winter of 1884. Reconstruction and renovation began immediately, with architect Charles Schweinfurth employed to guide the project. It would be one of many important architectural contributions he would make to the city of Cleveland. This restored version of the church is essentially what you see today, with minor tweaks made over time to preserve the historic sanctuary and outdoor façade.
- Our parish house (which houses our administrative offices, Sunday School wing, chapel, art gallery, and other rooms) opened in 1962. A Columbarium was installed and dedicated in later years. Today, many organizations use the building for meetings and events.
- Old Stone’s design is Victorian Romanesque with golden oak/dark mahogany paneling, graceful carvings, a spacious balcony, and an impressive trussed wood, barrel-vaulted ceiling. The sanctuary comfortably seats 600 and the chancel walls feature symbols and inscriptions in a gold stenciled pattern.
- OSC is also known for its majestic stained glass windows, four of which were designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the early 20th century.