top of page

Cultural Heritage

Smithfield United Church of Christ is the oldest organized church in the city of Pittsburgh. Our church's history indeed dates back to 1782 when the Smithfield congregation was founded. At that time, Pittsburgh was only a small village numbering around 250 people, many of whom were German.  In 1787, the grandson and great-grandson of William Penn gave the little congregation a deed to property on Smithfield Street. No buildings were erected on this plot until 1791 the land being so far out of town.  Today, it stands in the middle of Pittsburgh's business and shopping district.



1782 -  The church is founded by two religious "societies" comprised mainly of German settlers ; the first minister, Johann Wilhelm Weber, is hired in 1783


1787 -  William Penn's heirs deed to the church property on Smithfield Street


1791 -  The congregation erects its first building for worship; six more would follow


1812 -  The two religious groups, having reunited, adopt as a name the German Evangelical Protestant Church of Pittsburgh


1820 - The church is incorporated under a newly enacted Pennsylvania statute


1850 - The church adopts the present congregational form of governance


1925 - The church affiliates with the National Council of Congregational Churches


1925-1927 - The present structure, designed by Henry Hornbostel, is erected and dedicated


1960 - Smithfield joins the United Church of Christ, founded four years earlier


1968 - Smithfield Street United Methodist Church forms a union with Smithfield; the union is dissolved in 1994


Today, Smithfield United Church of Christ is a diverse congregation with members coming from across the metropolitan Pittsburgh area.  We maintain our original intent of freedom of thought, open-mindedness, and respect for different beliefs.  

For information on our building or historical records, select one of the below images.

Image by Becky Slemmons

bottom of page