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Monroeville

Old Stone Church a symbol of stability for 120 years in Monroeville

Dillon Carr
| Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Faye Junker of Monroeville works for the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church as its cemetery director, a separate entity from the Old Stone Church but an integral part of its history.
Dillon Carr | Tribune-Review
Faye Junker of Monroeville works for the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church as its cemetery director, a separate entity from the Old Stone Church but an integral part of its history.
Faye Junker, of Monroeville, works for the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church as its cemetery director, a separate entity from the Old Stone Church but an integral part of its history.
Dillon Carr | Tribune-Review
Faye Junker, of Monroeville, works for the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church as its cemetery director, a separate entity from the Old Stone Church but an integral part of its history.

A prominent 20th century architect once said architecture is a visual art and that buildings therefore speak for themselves. The Old Stone Church in Monroeville can't speak — but everyone knows what it stands for.

“Here we have right in the middle of mobile Monroeville, with everything going on — just the constant press of modern life — this church. It reminds you of a simpler time, of stability,” Louis Chandler said of the stone church at 2700 Stroschein Road.

Chandler is a member of the Monroeville Historical Society that recently celebrated the Old Stone Church's 120-year anniversary as a rock in the community.

“People look for stability,” Chandler said. “One thing that personifies that stability is a stone church.”

Perched on land sandwiched between Monroeville Boulevard and William Penn Highway, the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church was aptly named when built in 1834. With its membership growing and no parking lot, the congregation in 1958 moved down the street to the property that now houses the Holiday Inn off Mosside Boulevard, where it met for about 10 years.

In 1969, the Monroeville Historical Society became the caretakers of the historic church that is now used for weddings, funerals and baptisms. Proceeds from these events are used for upkeep of the building.

The church was deeded to the municipality and became a historical landmark through the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in 1970. From then on, Chandler said, the building got a fitting name: the Old Stone Church.

“Since it was no longer associated with the congregation and the municipality had it, it was just a building. So they just referred to it as an old stone church, what it is,” he said.

The Cross Roads Presbyterian Church congregation of about 400 now meets in a larger building on Haymaker Road — but its roots remain grounded in its humble origins. That's why the Rev. Rob Marrow found it necessary to celebrate the anniversary alongside the Haymaker building's 50th year anniversary in October.

“It's our original building. Our formations started there,” Marrow said. “And as the community changed, so did we. But we're still here.”

Marrow, a native of North Versailles, said he has been pastoring the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church for about 10 years.

“If there is a center for Monroeville, this is probably it,” said parishioner Faye Junker while standing on the lawn of the Old Stone Church.

While she didn't become a member of Cross Roads until 1977, as the church's cemetery director, Junker said she has heard many stories from locals who remember it as more than just a landmark.

“Some people remember playing tag or hide-and-seek through the cemetery, or getting married there,” she said. “It's a symbol of the beginning of Monroeville.”

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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