6th Avenue Presbyterian Church

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6th Avenue Presbyterian Church (originally First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, later 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church) is a former Presbyterian church.

It was founded in 1871 by a group from Green Pond Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Elyton Land Company deeded a lot to the church on the southeast corner of 5th Avenue North and 18th Street, and a small building was soon completed. The effects of a financial panic and a cholera epidemic left the church's membership rolls bare in 1873, and the church had to be reorganized a few years later. On February 23, 1879, the Rev. J. C. Armstrong was appointed by the Elyton Presbytery to take church of the church. He served until July 14, 1883.

A new $9,000 building was constructed on the same site as the original church in 1895. It was designed by the firm of Wheelock & Wheelock.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. merged in 1906, leading First Cumberland to change its name to 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1911. It was part of the PCUSA's Presbytery of Birmingham.

In 1925 the growing church completed a new building at 1800 6th Avenue North, across 18th Street from the 16-story Alabama Power Building, which was being built at the same time. It was designed by architect Harry Breeding.

On dedication day in November of that year the entire congregation marched the block from the old building to the new one, singing "Onward Christian Soldiers." The name of the church was changed for the new location. The church's former site was used for a new Federal Reserve building.

The first of a series of stained glass windows, designed and built by the Payne-Spiers Studios of Patterson, New Jersey and depicting the life of Christ, was installed in the building in 1947 in memory of Josephine Cosby. The series was completed in 1959. Membership declined over the next decades as many families moved "over the mountain".

In 1968 6th Avenue Presbyterian merged with the newly-formed St Stephen's Presbyterian Church to create a new Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church. The stained glass windows from the 6th Avenue building were saved and incorporated into the new church building on Brookwood Road. The downtown property was sold to South Central Bell, which demolished the church building in 1969 and constructed an employee parking deck adjacent to their new 30-story office tower.



  • Putnam, W.E., P.E. Davison, and C.B. Hoagland History of the First Cumberland, the Fifth Avenue, and the Sixth Avenue Presbyterian U.S.A. Churches, Birmingham, Alabama, 1871 to 1960
  • Garner, Jesse and John O'Hagan (1997) Face to Face: The Stained Glass Windows of Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church Mountain Brook, AL: Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church.
  • "History of Our Church" (n.d.) at mbpcusa.org - accessed September 18, 2019