Establishment of the Presbyterian Church and New Jersey Academy
The Presbyterian Church came to Logan July 16th, 1878 in the personal of Reverend Calvin M. Parks, Mrs. S. V. N. Parks, and Miss Margaret A. Parks. Logan and Cache Valley had been previously visited by Reverend Sheldon Jackson, D. D., who induced Mr. Parks to give up his position at Washington, D. C. and to come to Logan.
An old furniture store house, which later was remodeled and is now the Lindquist Undertaking Parlor, was the first location secured in Logan and from which was developed the Presbyterian Church and New Jersey Academy. In this building the first service was held August 20th, 1878, but the first sermon was preached by Reverend Calvin M. Parks on Sunday September 1st and the school was opened the next day. There were seven pupils and the building was rented for a three-fold purpose of chapel, school and residence. December 4th, 1878, the church was formally organized by Dr. Sheldon Jackson, Reverend Calvin M. Parks and Elder G. M. Anderson of the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City. The following year a new church and school building was erected on Center Street. It still serves as the present church building for the local Presbyterian Church. Technically it is the oldest church and school building in existence in the city today.
The school grew rapidly and at the end of twelve years, developed into an academy. At that time the present three story brick building academy was erected and furnished by the women of the Synod of New Jersey, whence the present name of the school. In 1907, the women of the same Synod erected and furnished the new dormitory, Honeyman Hall, named for the New Jersey synodical president, Mrs. Honeyman of Plainfield.
The New Jersey Academy which had been in continuous operation for forty-five years, has had the following principals since Mr. Parks: Miss S. E. DeGraff, Reverend J. A. L. Smith, Professor C. C. Norwood, Miss Gertrude Sammons, Miss Florence J. Foster, Mr. I. N. Smith, Mr. John L. Cathcart, Miss Edna Bright, Miss Faith Haines, and Miss Mary Martin. Miss Florence Stephinson is the present principal.
In the spring of 1916, the board purchased the ground on Center Street, adjoining the Academy’s land on the south. The ten-room brick house on it was remodeled for a dormitory to which the name Park’s Hall was given in memory of the founder. In 1917, a suite of rooms with bath, was made into a school hospital, called the Maria Fiske Infirmary.
The work of the academy was carried on under the auspices of the Women’s Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church, with headquarters in New York City.
The following ministers have been in charge of the church: Reverend Calvin M. Parks, Reverend E. W. Greeene, Reverend H. H. Crane, Reverend F. L. Hayden, Reverend N. E. Clemenson, Reverend W. H. Crothers, Reverend Arthur Wittenberger and Reverend Harris Pillsbury the present minister.
Soon after the establishment of the church in Logan, Reverend Parks had a number of church buildings erected in different settlements of the Valley. Schools as well as church services were conducted in these places. Buildings were erected at Mendon, Wellsville, Hyrum, Millville, Smithfield and Richmond. Some of these buildings are still standing.
Many capable students have been graduated from the academy and they have become prominent and useful citizens and have taken their places in life and in the communities to which they have moved. The work and influence of the church during these years have also been an outstanding feature and a great good in the community and Valley.