As a church, it’s small and unassuming. Under its gambrel roof is a one-story brick structure that measures 30 feet by 40 feet. But its history in the fabric of America is undeniable.
Sometimes known as “The Little Church,” it was built in Wilmington in 1740 for worshipers of the First Presbyterian Church congregation. Several members of the church served as delegates to the Continental Congress of 1774, including Gunning Bedford, having served as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington, and Henry Latimer, who would serve as a United States Senator.
The church served as a house of worship for 100 years, and during that time was also occupied by British troops, who in 1777 used it as a hospital after the Battle of the Brandywine. When the congregation got larger, it moved to a new building.
As Wilmington grew, the area that Old First Presbyterian was located in was being renovated, so the church was slated for demolition. In 1918, the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in DE and the Society of Colonial Wars in DE stepped in to save the church by moving it to its present location along the Brandywine Creek. But first, the building had to be dismantled for the move in order to avoid overhead trolley lines.