The first meeting of what was to become the Christian Church of Iowa City was held soon after Jesse Higbee, a farmer and lay minister of the Christian Church in Pennsylvania, came to live in Johnson County in 1855. As a young man he had been converted at one of Alexander Campbell's revival meetings near Pittsburgh and helped organize a new congregation there before moving to Iowa. Establishing new congregations and moving congregations from building to building was commonplace in the westward migration of our church unity movement on the American frontier. Our congregation began meeting in a rural schoolhouse at Higbee Grove, but by 1863 we realized that 217 Iowa Avenue in Iowa City suited our mission better, so we moved there, buying a building the Methodists had built in 1851 on a "Church Preserve" given to the city by Chauncey Swan. Swan was an original settler and large landowner in the Iowa Territory when Iowa City was its Capitol. In 1927 we bought a nearby home at 9 South Linn Street, which was used for classes, a janitor's residence, and social occasions until a financial crisis in 1936 forced us to sell it. The education addition at 217 Iowa Avenue was dedicated in 1960, and sanctuary in 1968, relacing a building built by us in 1886.

Also, for a more indepth treatment, you can purchase the book: A Diverse Community of Believers and Seekers: A History of the First Christian Church in Iowa City, Iowa 1863–2013 by David Hudson, either from Lulu.com or from Amazon.com

See also notes from our sesquicentennial celebration.