On this site, members of the First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro built their first house of worship in 1832, and on the adjacent land citizens of Greensboro erected the first graded public school in North Carolina in 1875. These grounds and the present buildings were given to the City of Greensboro in 1937 by Mrs. Mary Lynn Richardson and her daughters, Mrs[.] Laurinda R. Carlson, Mrs. Mary Norris R. Preyer and Mrs. Janet Lynn R. Prickett to be known as the Richardson Civic Center. In Grateful Appreciation
When making this gift,
including its adaptation for civic purposes,
Mrs. Richardson said:
"My great desire is to restore and put into active use the church where my father and brother served for 48 years...and to protect the historic cemetery which for many years was the only burying ground for the townspeople."
The First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro was organized in 1824 and its first church building was replaced in 1846 by a larger sanctuary[.] In 1859, Mrs. Richardson's father, Dr. Jacob Henry Smith, began a very illustrious and the church's longest pastorate—38 years—and he was succeeded by his son, Dr. Egbert W. Smith, for 10 more years. The main portion of the building was completed in 1892 and the Smith Memorial Building was added in 1903.
During the Civil War, the second church building was used as an assembly point for supplies for the confederacy, and in 1865, as a hospital following the Battle of Bentonville. The cemetery is a resting place for 29 officers and 8 soldiers of four wars and many of the founders and builders of Greensboro.
This Marker Was Erected in 1968 by
The Greensboro Historical Museum, Inc.