This congregation traces its roots to October 13, 1839, when Austin's first Presbyterian worship service was held at Bullock's Hotel. Present that day was builder Abner Cook, elder in the first Presbyterian church organized in Austin. He helped acquire this property for the Presbyterian Church (South) following a post-Civil War split in the church. A sanctuary was completed on the site in 1874.
This congregation was known in later years as Southern Presbyterian Church, the Free Presbyterian Church, First Southern Presbyterian Church, and Central Presbyterian Church. It has counted among its members many individuals important in the life of the denomination and the City of Austin, including Gov. Francis R. Lubbock; William Sidney Porter (O. Henry); A.N. and Jane Y. McCallum; Dr. George Clark and Rebecca Kilgore Stuart Red; and U.S. Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory. The Rev. Richmond Kelley Smoot played an important role in the national denomination and in the development of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
This congregation was instrumental in organizing five Presbyterian churches in Austin. It continues a program of ministry, outreach, and cultural events.