Central Presbyterian Church was established by the Presbytery of Carlisle in August of 1868 with 28 charter members. The church was built on a lot donated by one of these members, Colonel James C. Austin.
Miss Sarah Wilson, one of the founders of Wilson College, was one of the significant donors of Central's 186 foot tower. When other women in the town gave her grief for donating to this "phallic symbol", Miss Wilson replied that if God wanted it to come down then it would, if He didn’t then it would stand. In September 1871 the building was dedicated.
The church departed radically from the practice of the times, resolving to support its work by voluntary offerings” rather than pew rent.
After a disastrous fire in 1938 the original building was restored and larger facilities for the church school were added. Later the exterior walls got a face lift when the outside was encased in colonial brick. Another building program was completed in 1968 and a major expansion and renovation was completed in 2002.
The Sanctuary Organ
Another casualty of the 1938 fire was the original pipe organ. The present instrument was built for this sanctuary by Casavant Freres, Ltd., Quebec, Canada and dedicated in February 1940. It has three manuals and 2,000 pipes located in two chambers on each side of the chancel. The organ was recently renovated and updated with electronic components to provide this unique instrument with many more years of service.
In 1905 the Tiffany window in the Sanctuary were dedicated. Then in October 1938, Central Presbyterian Church was struck by a fire which destroyed the roof which in turn crashed into the sanctuary destroying the organ, pews, chancel and in part, the windows. Two windows were completely destroyed and the rest required varying degrees of repair. And there they remain today, repaired, restored and protected so that generations to come may enjoy them.