Wayne Presbyterian, Old Wayne (Lyceum) Hall

42_image01Many facts and names, not available to this columnist previously in connection with the early days of the Wayne Presbyterian Church, are given in “Rural Pennsylvania,” a book to which reference has recently been made in “Your Town and My Town.”

The opening paragraph on the founding of the church states:
“On Sabbath morning, June 5, 1870, a service was held in Wayne Hall… on the 19th of the same month a Sunday School began with five children. On the 21st a meeting occurred at the Hall, preparatory to the organization of the Church.

“The Presbytery appointed as Commission Rev. Dr. B.B. Hotchkin, Professor Lorenzo Westcott, Rev. T.J. Aiken, and Ruling Elders James Moore and Thomas Aiken, who met in the hall on the 24th of June A.D. 1870 and organized the church with nine members, installing Howell Evans as ruling elder.

“Rev. Samuel P. Linn was installed pastor July 5th, 1870. Rev. Dr. T.W. Dale was moderator. Rev. Dr. R.H. Allen preached; Rev. Professor Lorenzo Westcott delivered the charge to the pastor and the Rev. B.B. Hotchkin, D.D., delivered the charge to the people and a prayer was offered by Rev. John Chambers.

“Services were held in the Hall until the church building, now known as the chapel, was finished. Ground for this was broken March 21, 1870. The cornerstone was laid on Thursday May 12, by the Rev. John Chambers, with appropriate services, assisted by Rev. R.H. Allen, D.P ., Rev. John McLeod and Rev. T.J. Aiken. The services were solemn and impressive, witnessed by a large audience from the surrounding country and the city. All hearts were cheered as the bright sunshine came down through the darkened clouds and seemed to smile on the servant of Christ as he invoked God’s blessing upon the future church.

“The dedication took place on December 8, 1870. An eloquent sermon was delivered by Rev. Charles Wadsworth taking as his text, “He loveth one nation and hath built us a synagogue.”

Other eminent divines from nearby churches took part in the afternoon and evening exercises. The churches, as well as the parsonage, which was located a few blocks east on Lancaster pike, and the endowment of both, were gifts of J. Henry Askin, under whose personal direction the new building was erected. They were a memorial to his parents, established by a man who has sometimes been called the “founder of Wayne.” He built Louella Mansion, now the Louella Apartments, as his family home.

42_image02On May 12, 1892, the corner stone of the present Presbyterian Church was laid, just to the west of the original edifice. The author of “Rural Pennsylvania” describes this second building as a “stately and costly structure of early English Gothic style of architecture.” The Rev. William A. Patton, who has doubled church membership in his two-year pastorate, was minister of the church. With some alterations and additions, the Wayne Presbyterian Church looks now much as it did when it was built 64 years ago.