Under the leadership of the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte, founder of the Holland colony, the Third Reformed Church was organized on September 9, 1867. The first house of worship, measuring 90' long, 56' wide, and 32' high, was erected on this site. In the great Holland fire of October 8 and 9, 1871, the first structure was destroyed. On January 2, 1873, disaster struck again as the newly erected framework of a second building was demolished in a high wind. The present church, a structure of beauty and symmetry, was dedicated on November 25, 1874. The architectural style is known as carpenters' Gothic. The building is of balloon frame, battened perpendicularly on the outside, finished with buttresses towering in pinnacles above the roof. The steepled belltower was added in 1891. The parish hall and education facilities were built in 1952. During the centennial observance of 1967-68, the church building underwent extensive restoration so that it continues to stand as a significant historical landmark.
From the time of its organization, a progressive spirit has marked the life of the Third Reformed Church. The congregation immediately organized a Sunday School with Isaac Cappon, Holland industrialist and the city's first mayor, as superintendent. In 1872 the church gave impetus to the establishment of a $30,000 endowment fund for Hope College. The missionary fervor of the Reformed Church in America caught hold quickly in the congregation. Miss Elizabeth Cappon went as a missionary teacher to Amoy, China, in 1891. Nearly 125 men and women have followed her in the work of Christian ministry at home and abroad. In recognition of changing language patterns, Third Church became the first Dutch-immigrant congregation in the community to use the English language exclusively. To express its activities and goals, the congregation chose for its motto,"To know Him and to make Him known."