Religious institutions have played an important role in the history of Nebraska. During the frontier period, churches fulfilled both the spiritual and social needs of the early inhabitants. The Congregational Church was one of Nebraska's pioneer denominations. The Reverend Reuben Gaylord brought Congregationalism to Washington County in 1856 and the church operated an early institution of higher learning, the "Nebraska University" at Fontenelle, 1858-1872.
The Congregational Church of Blair was organized with eight communicants on February 10, 1870, less than a year after John I. Blair auctioned the original town lots a few blocks north of this site. For a time, the Reverend Marshall Tingley, who had come from Sioux City, conducted services in the courthouse or in private homes.
On November 22, 1874, a 28 by 40 foot sanctuary, characteristic of the Carpenter-gothic style of architecture, was dedicated on this site. Additions and improvements have occurred throughout the years but the original structure, along with many interior furnishings, has remained in use for more than a century as a center for worship and fellowship. The style and simplicity of this pioneer Congregational Church provides a fitting memorial to Washington County's religious heritage.
First Congregational Church of Blair
Nebraska State Historical Society