History,  House and Home,  New Kensington,  Photography,  Western Pennsylvania

Logans Ferry Presbyterian Church in Parnassus

Jonathan took this photo a few years ago during the Great Winter which spawned Snowmaggedon. We both have a fondness for Logans Ferry Presbyterian Church. For one thing, it anchors one side of our New Kensington neighborhood, Parnassus.  The building is 127 years old, and the very ground on which it sits is the site of the Revolutionary War-era Fort Crawford. The Fort Crawford memorial is to the church’s right. To the church’s left (behind the snowbank in this photo) is the cemetery for The United Presbyterian Church of New Kensington. One day Jonathan and I were exploring the cemetery when we accidentally found the graves of the original owners of our own old house. (The Queen Anne Victorian that would later become our home was built shortly after this church was built. The house stayed in one family for decades, and the son of the original owner carved his name in our attic when he was a boy. We were a bit stunned the day that we unintentionally stumbled upon their family plot, which in this photo is buried under snow near the tree seen in this photo.)

I decided to blog about this photo because I saw an article today in the Tribune-Review / Valley News Dispatch about the church and the extensive repairs that it needs. This article titled, “As church structure fails, congregation bears load” by Jodi Weigand struck a chord with me. It details the challenges and expenses involved with saving an important vestige of Parnassus’ Gilded Era. According to the article, the congregation is facing a second move to their fellowship hall during repairs. The members are grappling with how to repair structural and roof damage, keep their stained glass window intact, and raise funds to pay for the whole thing. As old house owners, Jonathan and I have encountered hurdles in our own renovation efforts.  We once sealed off our living room for a year while we (and Jonathan’s parents) stripped wallpaper off of plaster and paint off of woodwork in the evenings, and one humid summer we ate all of our dinners in our bedroom because it was the only room in the house with air conditioning. We took great care to protect our own stained glass window and carefully budgeted to afford our projects. However, our repairs have been insignificant compared to those necessary at this church.  I salute this congregation for its hard word in preserving this New Kensington landmark.


  • Alycia Bencloski

    Beautiful photo. I really like it.

    I fully support efforts to save W. PA’s historical sites. These places help us connect with the folks who came before us. They also teach us a lot about our environment and how things were done in what we would now call a low-tech way.

  • Jenny

    Thanks for commenting, Alycia. I realize that most efforts to preserve the past involve a commitment of finances and time, so I think it is admirable that this parish is making this effort.

    Funny that you mention the low-tech amenities of older buildings. We have found this ourselves. For instance, Jonathan and I believe that our own house was originally designed to facilitate air flow through it, making it comfortable in the summer. However, it has undergone so many “modernizations” in between the time it was originally built and when Jonathan purchased it, that a few years ago it was necessary for us to have central air installed. Also, as I will mention in my next blog post, our original basement floor was dirt. Somebody later had a cement floor poured, and now our basement collects water every time it rains.