Church History

CPCBased in the Old West End of Toledo and having been around for well over 100 years, Collingwood maintains a strong sense of heritage and the church maintains a thorough record of its past.

Collingwood was organized in 1893. The Old West End was then known as the fashionable seventh ward and many Presbyterians were in this new area around Ashland and Collingwood near Madison and Jefferson.

A Sunday School was started at 2012 Ashland Ave. Furniture was loaned by sister churches, First Presbyterian and Westminster. Since a lot at Collingwood and Prescott had already been purchased for $8,820, it was natural to select the name Collingwood Avenue Presbyterian Church, which was changed after Collingwood Ave. became Collingwood Boulevard.

In the early days, the church had an image of formality and of business and social status. It had been built in what was then the best part of the city. It had prominent members, including the son and grandson of a president of the United States (Hayes). No Easter Parade picture in the Sunday rotogravure section of the old Toledo Times seemed complete without the portico of Collingwood in the background.

The church is in the Gothic style. It occupies the entire frontage on Collingwood Avenue between Floyd and Prescott Streets. The Sanctuary seats approximately 600. It was built in 1904 at a cost of $90,257 and had its first service on January 4, 1905.

An amusing detail is the carving of the heads on the exterior column capitals, purported to be contemporary members of the congregation. Because the sanctuary is built of sandstone,there has been considerable wear over the years and plans are in the works to restore this wonderful part of the church.

The attached Community House was built in 1926, has three floors, with 25 classrooms, a library, chapel, administrative offices, lounges, a full gymnasium with shower rooms attached and choir rehearsal facilities. A dining room at ground level seats up to 800 people with a fully equipped kitchen attached. Lincoln Hall Theatre has a full stage and seats approximately 750.

The Sanctuary

AberThe sanctuary of Collingwood is typical of the turn-of -the century square plan, based historically on the Byzantine equal-armed cross. Collingwood is the only church in Toledo in which the dome, arched vaults and pendentives of the Byzantine style are suggested. The rusticated stonework of the exterior and the great rose windows are Romanesque. The east, west and north rose windows are part of the original sanctuary. The south rose was obscured by the old parish house roof, and was exposed when the new Community House was built.

The firm which installed the original rose windows was able to duplicate the design,but could not match their pre-war glass,which had been imported from Europe.The lower windows are gifts and memorials. The quatrefoils on the front walls are of gold leaf on masonite, and were designed and executed by Toledo artist Dan Woodward.The four in the chancel represent the Hand of God, the Law, the Burning Heart and the Holy Spirit descending as a Dove. Those on the angle walls show the shields, or symbols,of the Twelve Apostles. The ceiling is made of 240ct Belgian Linen. Linen was used because the lightweight material would not put strain on the roof or structure.

In 1955 the sanctuary underwent a complete remodeling which included repair of the narthex, installation of a new organ,pulpit, reading lectern and communion table. Up to this time there had been a solid block of pews in the center of the sanctuary, with an aisle on either side and then an arrow row of pews with an aisle at each outside wall.

At the front of the sanctuary is a large carving done in Appalachian white oak of the Last Supper. The carving was done by Joseph Walters. It is housed inside an oak table built by the Sauder Mfg. Company and was placed in the sanctuary in 1955 when the renovation was done to move the balcony. There is a plaque in the Narthex with more information on the Last Supper Table.


The Balcony and Pipe Organ

The Holtcamp organ was installed in 1955. It has 61 ranks, or about 3,500 pipes ranging from the size of a pencil to some large enough for a man to step inside. The pipe organ was originally in the front and to the right. Since there was scant room for a choir, a paid octet provided music for a number of years.

The original organ, gift of the Ladies Society, had seen its day, and a replacement was mandatory. Following a year of study by a committee and considerable debate, some of it not too harmonious for Presbyterians (it is said that faint echoes persist to this very day), it was decided to purchase another pipe organ despite some insistence that one of those new-fangled electronic instruments be considered. It was determined that it be installed in the balcony where the acoustical effect would be superior. There is currently a strong push and financial drive for the restoration of the organ.

The Gym

gymThis part of the church was opened in 1926 at a cost of $420,000. The pastor at the time, Dr. R Lincoln Long formally called it the Community House because it “is not only intended for the service of our congregation but of the entire community…”

The gymnasium has seen many basketball championships won and lost. It is still used today by neighborhood men a couple afternoons a week and by local school children several times a week in the evenings. It is also used by a girls broom ball team.

The third floor is complete with girls and boys locker rooms. It is occupied several weeks a year by people participating in Family Promise (a traveling homeless shelter for families). It is also used by FOCUS and their Toledo Service Project for sleeping and eating quarters while students from all over the country come for a week or a weekend to assist people in our area painting, yard work, home repair.

The Youth Group Room

This lovely area is now the stomping grounds of the Collingwood Youth Group. It has great views of the downtown Toledo skyline, including the stack for the former steam plant. Many years ago there were steam lines below the sidewalk on the east side of Collingwood Blvd which melted snow on cold winter days. Students going to Scott High School would always walk on this side of the street.

The Auditorium

Named Lincoln Hall for Dr. R Lincoln Long; Collingwood’s pastor from 1919 through 1952, 33 years. The Hall has seen many performances from the Toledo Symphony to the Village Player rendition of “Plain and Fancy” directed by John Lithgow’s father, to church plays and cabarets. Lincoln Hall was damaged badly by fire in 1950. It occurred just as Sunday School was about to begin there, but no one was injured. The blaze was blamed on faulty wiring.

chapel The Chapel

The lovely chapel is used for memorial and healing services, as well as classrooms for the children. There are even little doors in each classroom door so that the attendance cards could be passed to the Sunday School supervisor.

The Parlor

The parlor is used for the Elders to receive new members, for the bride and bridesmaids to gather before weddings, and for small meetings.