About Us

Our History

church-oldThe Palisades Presbyterian Church was organized, founded and built by a group of faithful Presbyterians led by Mr. Winthrop Gilman who could not tolerate the absence of religious services on the Sabbath while visiting their country homes.  A meeting was held in the spring of 1863 at which time it was decided to erect a small church building and to secure the services of a young minister as soon as was practical.  The first pastor, the Rev. Joseph Greenleaf was hired on May 11, 1863. He led services on Sunday afternoons in the Methodist church (located on the present Closter Road) while construction on the Presbyterian Church began. 

The lot on which the church is situated was given by Mr. Charles F. Park as a portion of his donation to the new church.  The lot on which the manse sits was a gift from his widow two years later.  Construction began on the new church on June 1, 1863 with the first service being held on January 3, 1864.  Mr. Park and Mr. Gilman rang the bell for the first time on New Year's Eve 1863. 

On October 13, 1888, in celebration of the occasion of the church’s 25th Anniversary, W.S. Gilman wrote these words which still ring true today:  “The multitude of precious memories of the living and the dead that crowd our minds, in taking this brief glance at the past is overwhelming!  Such joys and sorrows as we have experienced within these walls!  And the first in this instance, have been more than the last!  We cannot enlarge upon them now, much as we are tempted to do so.  Suffice it to say that we believe we shall look back from a higher plane of life and activity upon the experiences of the present life to find that among the most keenly remembered joys of earth those will stand foremost which were derived from our connection with the little band of Christ’s followers organized into a church at Palisades in the autumn of 1863.”