Potosi Presbyterian Church

Potosi, Missouri
Washington County

The new Potosi Presbyterian Church at 104 West Breton Street was commissioned in the church’s 75th year to house a growing congregation. The Second Gothic Revival style limestone building was completed in 1909 based on designs submitted by Potosi-native and famed architect, John Anderson Lankford. Lankford is known as the first professionally licensed African American architect in Virginia and is often regarded as the “Dean of Black Architecture.” The Potosi Presbyterian Church is one of three churches he designed in Missouri, and is the only known church designed and built by Lankford for a predominantly white congregation. While it is unknown whether Lankford was a member of the Presbyterian Church, records indicate he worked throughout his youth for a prominent member of the church who also served as a Sunday school teacher for the African American children of Potosi. Like many small churches these days, the congregation of Potosi Presbyterian Church lacks the funds to carry out regular maintenance of the historic building, which in turn has created larger issues. Water infiltration has caused bubbling and cracking of the plaster and in the case of the side entrance, complete failure of the wall. The bell tower, built of Indiana limestone, is crumbling and the entranceway beneath has visible signs of water damage. The beautiful stained glass windows need repairing. A quote received years ago to repair the tower was upwards of a million dollars. It is hoped that listing the Potosi Presbyterian Church as a Place in Peril will raise awareness of the building’s significance, grab the attention of reputable preservation professionals who can provide assistance and realistic bids for repairs, and help the congregation raise much needed funds to preserve this landmark for future generations.

Potosi Presbyterian Church

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