Download A History of First Unitarian Church of Louisville Kentucky 1830-2005 by John Findling and Jennifer Lavery.

The founding of First Unitarian in Louisville in 1830 was a direct outgrowth of a decision by the newly formed AUA to send newly trained ministers westward. The church was founded by six local families and raised enough funds to erect a permanent building in 1832. In the early years of the church, the ministers often also played key roles in local history. James Freeman Clarke edited the Western Messenger, a Unitarian journal.  John Healy Heywood was an agent for the Louisville School system and saw the establishment of the first male and female public high schools. See Also: The Encyclopedia of Louisville.


Church building at the corner of Fourth and York Streets in the 1920s.

1830: First Unitarian Society of Louisville is formed
1832: Unitarians dedicate new building on the corner of Fifth and Walnut
1840: Universalists buy and repair a building on Chapel Street
1843: Universalists build a new building in the 800 block of West Market Street
1852: Unitarians expand building to add more pews
1865: First Unitarian establishes the Widows’ and Orphans’ Home
1869: Unitarians and Universalists merge in Louisville to form a new church called The Church of the Messiah
1871: New building is dedicated at the corner of Fourth and York Street
1872: Building is rededicated after a fire destroyed the building in late 1871
1895: Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt speak on suffrage outside the church
1918: Name of church is changed back to First Unitarian
1951: Theophilus Conrad Parish House is dedicated
1957-1960: Thomas Jefferson church planted
1979: Campus expanded to include Heywood House property
1985-1989: Fire destroys building, congregation meets at Plymouth Church
1989: Re-built building is dedicated and congregation moves back into the building

Ministers who have served First Unitarian Church of Louisville
1832-1833 George Chapman
1833-1839 James Freeman Clark
1840-1880 John Healy Heywood
1880-1883 CJK Jones
1883-1884 John B Green
1884-1898 CJK Jones
1898-1900 Arthur Littlefield
1900-1902 Frederick Hawley
1903-1909 William H Ramsey
1910-1916 Maxwell Savage
1916-1919 Dilworth Lupton
1919-1923 R. Ernest Akin
1923-1930 Lon Ray Call
1930-1937 Richard WF Seebode
1938-1941 Carl B Bihldorff
1942-1945 Maynard Van Dyke
1946-1960 Robert T Weston
1961-1963 Phillip Smith
1963-1967 David Brown
1968-1985 Robert Reed
Interim: Virginia Knowles
1986-2001 Richard Beal
Interim: David Parker
2002-2006 Norm Stewart
Interim: Betsy Schuermann
Interim: Alma Crawford
2009-2016 Dawn Cooley
Interim: Kathy Hurt
2019 – current Lori Kyle