The Second Presbyterian Church can trace its history to the year 1854.
On December 25, 1854, a group of Presbyterians who lived in the southern
end of the city gathered to discuss the establishment of a church in
their community. The congregation, known as the Second Presbyterian
Church, was officially organized on February 8, 1855, with 28 charter
members. These charter members were primarily former members of Covington’s
First Presbyterian Church.
In March 1855, a lot on the north side of 9th Street was purchased as
a site for a future church. Until a new building could be constructed,
the congregation met in a building at the corner of Madison Avenue and
9th Streets. The congregation built a small lecture room on their 9th
Street property in 1855. The lecture room was dedicated on December
23, 1855. In 1861, a permanent church hall was construed as an addition
to the lecture room. The Reverend Albert Shotwell served the congregation
as pastor from 1856 until 1857.
The congregation continued to grow until the year 1880. On September
21, much of the church property was destroyed by fire. The congregation
sold the damaged building to the Methodist Church, which established
a congregation for African Americans in the rebuild structure. The members
of Second Presbyterian Church decided to rebuild their structure on
a new piece of property on Madison Avenue south of 9th Street. The new
Gothic Revival edifice was completed in 1882. Two years later, the congregation
officially changed the name of the church to Madison Avenue Presbyterian.
The congregation faced tragedy again in 1884 when their new church building
was destroyed by fire. Fortunately, the building was covered by insurance.
A new Gothic Revival edifice was built within the walls of the former
structure. The architectural firm of Crapsey and Brown designed the
new building. The first services were celebrated in the church on November
Avenue Presbyterian Church flourished in the years before the First
World War. In 1916, a parsonage was acquired at 1048 Scott Street. This
parsonage was replaced in 1922 when the congregation purchased a new
home for the pastor at 1218 Audubon Road in the neighboring suburban
community of Park Hills.
The 1920s witnessed the construction of a large addition to the south
side of the church building. That year, a two-story wing containing
a kitchen, dinning room and classrooms was built to accommodate the
growing congregation. Construction costs reached $30,000. By 1945, membership
totaled 300. By the mid 1950s, however, membership began a steady decline.
In 1955, the Presbyterians living in the suburban communities southwest
of Covington established Lakeside Presbyterian Church. The congregation
grew from 70 charter members to 221 members by 1959. In 1961, the members
of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church decided to close their building
and merge with Lakeside. The merger took place on February 16, 1961.
The property on Madison Avenue was eventually sold and the old church
Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Centennial 1855-1955 (Kenton
County Public Library Collection); History-Directory, Madison Avenue
Presbyterian Church 1898 (Kenton County Public Library Collection);
Dedication Booklet, Lakeside Presbyterian Church 1963 (Kenton County
Public Library Collection); Souvenir Bulletin The First Worship Service
of the Merged Lakeside and Madison Avenue Presbyterian Churches, February
19, 1961 (Kenton County Public Library Collection); Paul A. Tenkotte,
Downtown Covington Churches (Covington, KY: Kenton County Historical
Society 1986); Kentucky Post, July 3, 1922, p. 1.