The history of Palisades Presbyterian Church goes back to the year 1887, when the first services were held in the courtroom of the then-San Diego Courthouse at Broadway and 2nd Street, the intersection that now includes the Westgate Hotel.
On April 10, 1888, a petition was submitted to the Presbytery in Santa Ana for the First United Presbyterian Church to be formed in San Diego. Approval was given, so that date is recognized as the founding of what is now Palisades Presbyterian Church. The church had 29 charter members.
By August 1888, services were being held in Holt House near what is now Market and 14th Street. The church experienced difficult times initially, so after ten years, the church had only 38 members. Yet this hardy group, with their own volunteer labor, constructed their first church building at the corner of 19th and G Street (that is now in the middle of the Highway 94/Interstate 5 interchange). The church was a simple 20- by 30-foot structure. The population of San Diego was 16,000.
Over time, this location developed some dissatisfaction in the minds of many members, and in 1897 there was discussion about moving the church, which they did to the corner of 22nd and Market Streets, where it remained for more than 50 years.
In the early 1950s, as that location fell victim to a shifting population, the congregation decided to look for a location closer to where its members lived. It was at that time that the present location was selected in 1956, where the 5.7 acres were purchased for $15,000. The first services at this location were on the Sunday before Christmas in 1956. The sanctuary building was completed in 1964.
The stained glass window in front came from Holland. Allied planes had accidentally bombed the factory during World War II, and to make amends, the United States government offered to transport free of charge any stained glass orders made by Americans from this Dutch company. So, our glass was transported free aboard a Navy ship to Portland, Oregon, then by truck to the church’s present location.
The present membership of Palisades is approximately 320 members.