The Central Presbyterian Church on the northwest corner of Richards Street and First Avenue was built in 1895, with Joliet limestone under the direction of the Rev. D. C. Milner, and the architectural firm of Knox and Elliot.
The Victorian Gothic style church, shown in the then image, was built on the east side of the city as the population of Joliet moved from the city center.
Organized as a church in 1844, the first Central Presbyterian Church was built in downtown Joliet on the southeast corner of Ottawa and Van Buren streets. The bell that rang for more than 40 years in the tower of the old downtown Presbyterian Church was placed in the belfry of the new eastside church. The bell was bought in the 1850s at a cost of $500 and for many years was the only bell in town and rang for fires as well as church services.
The now photograph shows a view of the old church today which is located at 17 South Richards Street. Considered a local landmark, the old Central Presbyterian Church is part of the Jacob Henry Estate today.
Besides the Central Presbyterian Church, the Jacob Henry Estate also includes the original home that once was the residence of railroad tycoon Jacob Henry. The home and church are located in a district on the east side of Joliet that was once called “Silk Stocking Row” because it was populated by families of wealth and influence. Today, the Renaissance Revival mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.