National Historic Landmark
Designed by William Strickland, architect of the State Capitol, the Downtown Presbyterian Church is one of the largest and best preserved examples of Egyptian Revival architecture in the United States. Completed in 1851, the church was used as a hospital by the Union army during the Civil War; beds filled the sanctuary and ground floor. The building underwent extensive remodeling after 1865. Adelicia Acklen, the mistress of Belmont, donated the 4,000 pound bell which served as the city’s fire alarm from 1874 to 1897. In 1882, the interior was painted with colorful, symbolic designs and perspective painting creating the impression of an Egyptian temple. The winged globe, repeated throughout the church, is the symbol for the Egyptian sun god Amun-Ra and signifies eternity. Original box pews were also removed during this time, and the present curved walnut benches installed; the stained glass windows were added in 1887.