The Church's Timeline
In 1867, Rev. A. Jack Haynes organized the church in the Dallas County Courthouse. As there was no church building, the church probably held its first services in the saloon – no doubt the best place the town had to offer for meetings of any kind.
In 1868, the first church building was established as the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Jefferson (now Record Street) and Corondolet (now Ross Avenue) in downtown Dallas. Capt. John M. McCoy, grandfather of a later pastor, wrote his parents in 1871 that he had found a little Cumberland Church and had decided to "put his shoulder to the wheel" and help in their Sunday School.
Under the leadership of Rev. J. Frank Smith the church grew rapidly, and soon a larger building became a necessity. The little frame building that had served the church for about 30 years was sold and a lot was purchased at the corner of Harwood and Commerce Streets.
An impressive brick church was built and the first service was held there in January, 1898. It was in this building that the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church met in 1904. During this meeting the subject of union with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was discussed.
Two years later, in 1906, this union was consummated and the name of the church was changed to Central Presbyterian of Dallas.
Dallas continued its rapid growth and the church grew along with the city. Rev. Smith was a popular minister and speaker, and again the church outgrew its facilities. In 1915 the Session offered the congregation three propositions upon which they needed to vote: disband the church and join other churches, build several churches in different areas convenient to members, or build a larger downtown church. The congregation voted unanimously for the third option.
Ground was broken at the corner of Akard and Patterson in May of 1915, and the cornerstone was laid on Thanksgiving Day the same year. During the corner-stone laying ceremony, Rev. Smith said the building was not just for Presbyterians, but for the church universal in hopes it would be an inspiration to the whole world.
This church became known as Central Presbyterian at City Temple. Dr. Floyd Poe began his ministry at City Temple in July, 1928, and would lead the church through its next move in 1962.
Groundbreaking for City Temple's new building took place on February 25, 1962. The cornerstone was laid on November 4 of the same year and on March 17, 1963 the church at 9009 Park Lane held its first service.
The name was changed to NorthPark United Presbyterian Church. As predicted, the move from downtown succeeded in attracting new members, and with available space the Session established a day school for pre-school age children.
In August 1965 the church was fortunate in obtaining the services of Rev. David Zacharias as pastor. Among the traditions begun by Rev. Zacharias were a congregational breakfast before the Thanksgiving Day service and the candlelight service on Christmas Eve.
Over the years, the church property increased in value, due in part to the construction of the NorthPark shopping center just across Park Lane from the church. Aware of these trends, in April 1981 the Session appointed a Long Range Planning Committee to appraise the property in order to begin negotiations with real estate developers.
Over the course of four year and many negotiations in April 1986, a contract was signed to trade the church's property at the corner of Park Lane and Central Expressway for a 6-acre tract just to the north, plus an additional sum and percentage of interest in the joint venture.
In September 1988, after screening more than 90 candidates, the congregation was presented with the name of Rev. Dr. John M. McCoy, and when the call was given, Rev. McCoy accepted and was installed the following month.
A groundbreaking ceremony at the new church facility was held on December 3, 1989. The new building was completed and the dedication ceremony was held May 26, 1991.