Congregational Church (now First Congregational UCC)

123 North Highland Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501


Builder: Reuter Organ Co., Op. 466, 1935.
Manuals: 2
Ranks: 7
Action: Electro-pneumatic

Notes: Our local congregation took root here in 1880, a few years before South Dakota became a state! The first services were held with a membership of nine people and a minister. On November 28, 1880, they organized the first church in Pierre in a railroad construction shack on Coteau Street. The church would later move from the railroad shack to a tent at Dakota and Fort Street, because the tent was warmer. Moving from one location to another, Eugene Steere writes, “my wife and I would go out on Sunday morning and find we had been ousted from the previous place and have to carry the organ and books to some new-found place.” All in all, the church worshiped in fourteen places before building its first permanent home. With financial help from the East, the small congregation built its first church at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Pierre Street. The church was dedicated September 3, 1882, with the Rev. Thomas Riggs of the Oahe Mission preaching the first sermon. The church building served the congregation until 1932, when a new building was constructed at Highland and Prospect for a cost of $23,200. During the church’s history it has had 29 ministers, including its present pastor, The Rev. Emily Munger. On the wide open and sprawling prairie, our Congregationalist forefathers and mothers played an integral part in the development of Pierre and surrounding areas. They were involved in government, as educators, doctors, surveyors, ranchers and farmers, tradesmen and women, parents and members of voluntary associations that provided for the interests and needs of the communities. In 1957, Congregationalists sought to unite in worship with our Reformed, Christian, and Evangelical friends in faith to form what is known as our denominational identity today: The United Church of Christ. Organ Historical Society as of 2005.

Additional information from Chris Leaver of Reuter Organ Co. in 2005.