This is the third church to be built here since 1836.
The first church was made of stone and was built late in 1836 on the present site. The land and church's bell were donated by Enoch Long.
Elijah Parish Lovejoy was the first pastor from January 8, 1837 to November 7, 1837. On October 25th, 1837, Lovejoy held a meeting in the church to form the Anti-Slavery Society in Illinois. A near riot broke out. The meeting was moved across the street to the Old Rock House the following day. Less than two weeks later, on November 7, 1837, Elijah Lovejoy was killed at the warehouse of Godfrey, Gilman & Co. defending his fourth printing press. He is considered to be a martyr for freedom of speech.
The original church burned in 1858 and construction of a new frame building began at once.
Financial problems and the Civil War prevented the completion until its dedication on November 15, 1865. A newer and larger church was needed so this second structure was demolished and the church you see today was dedicated on November 27, 1927.
Across the street from the College Avenue Presbyterian Church stands the Old Rock House. This stone double-dwelling was built in 1834-35 by John Higham and Henry Caswell, a stone mason from the state of New York. It was built for the Rev. T.B. Hurlburt,
pastor of the College Avenue Presbyterian Church and intimate friend of Elijah Lovejoy.
The first two anti-slavery meetings in Illinois were held here on October 26 and 27, 1837. The Anti-Slavery Society was formed with sixty members. Lovejoy was elected corresponding secretary. This house also served as a "station" on the "Underground Railroad".
The building originally had six dormer windows, but some time during the 1910's the dormers were replaced with the present concrete block addition. Other changes were also made through the years. Today, it is an apartment complex.