SHOREWOOD — It was a celebration 90 years in the making, as North Shore Presbyterian Church celebrated a milestone in a special service on Sunday, June 17th. For one parishioner, the day had an even more special meaning. The 99-year-old was there the day the church was built.
Harry Norton said he can remember the days before the church was built, and it wasn’t always pretty.
“Prior to the time the church was built, they had a tent on the corner. When they had services in the evening, there was more mosquitoes than there were people,” Norton said.
Besides meeting in a tent, the church also met in a jail before building its first church building.
Norton’s family members were founding members of the church. Co-pastor Jim Bender said the church began as an outreach program.
“Someone was driving by and saw some kids in Shorewood on a Sunday morning not doing anything and said ‘We needed Sunday school,'” Bender said.
The Sunday school eventually became a full congregation. Norton says the first pastor was a well-dressed man.
“I remember the first preacher. His name was Reverend Carrial and he had a model T Ford,” Norton said.
In the 1950s, North Shore Presbyterian moved across the street to a larger campus, and remains there today. Norton said when it came time to help raise money for the church’s expansion, he lacked a little faith.
“I said ‘fellas, I don’t think you can raise enough money to buy the hardware of the front door of that new church.’ Well, it turned out that we did,” Norton said.
The church has provided 90 years of service to the community, and its oldest members believe it will stay strong for the next nine decades.
“I hope that the next 90 will be just as great for the church and the people as the last 90 have been,” Norton said.
North Shore Presbyterian has more than 400 members.