The Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green,
Kentucky is a product of divisions and mergers. In 1819,
the Reverend Joseph B. Lapsley established a church of
mostly Rockbridge County, Virginia women and men and two
slaves who had begun residence in Warren County, Kentucky.
The church was located in the town’s original cemetery.
In 1833, construction began on the present edifice; members
and townspeople contributed money and in-kind service to
house a female academy in the basement and a worship place
in the level above. Hugh Roland, recently of Nashville
and then of Louisville, designed the Gothic Revival structure.
The building was occupied as a hospital during the Civil
The congregation of 750 is the successor to
all the divisions in the Presbyterian Church: Old School,
New School, North/South of Civil War, Cumberland. In 1949,
First Church and Westminster Church united and chose to worship
in the older of the two buildings. Several additions to the
original building occupy the corner of State Street and Tenth
Avenue in downtown Bowling Green.
The present pipe organ was installed in 1973—two
manuals, pedal, tracker action and 29 ranks. It was the last
Aeolian-Skinner contract. Robert L. Sipe of Dallas assumed
the contract when Skinner was unable to perform it. It has
served the congregation beautifully in worship and in concert.
Taylor and Boody is currently under contract to clean, repair
and revise the instrument. That organ is the fourth to serve
the church. The first was a hand-pumped, perhaps one manual,
pipe organ installed in the gallery. The next two organs
were provided by Henry Pilcher’s Sons.