The two men precariously working atop the cupola of First Presbyterian Church caught the attention of Denny Hamilton, who took this photograph back in 1986. The congregation dates back to May 1817, just two years after the incorporation of the city. Like the Methodists, Episcopalians, and Baptists, the early Presbyterians held their services in the first County Courthouse, which was located in the middle of Market Street, south of Second Street.
In 1849, the Presbyterians, under the leadership of Rev. Marcus Hicks, hired noted Portsmouth architect William Newman to build this still widely recognized landmark and treasure. The congregation, with some 115 members, held their first worship service in the new structure on April 6th, 1851, observing it as a “day of humiliation, fasting and prayer for the conversion of the world to Jesus Christ.”