Early this morning, I decided to take a walk down to the lake front of Blue Mountain Lake. I stopped in front of the historic Church of the Transfiguration, and decided that it would make for a great blog post – definitely an interesting example of decidedly Adirondack ecclesiastical architecture. Despite my indifference to religion, I have always taken an interest in religious architecture, and can’t pass up the opportunity to share the history of a structure such as this – so vibrantly Adirondack and the product of nineteenth-century Adirondack culture.
This episcopal church was built in 1885, in response to the need for a more convenient location for churchgoers to attend. Previously the only nearby religious location was the church on St. Hubert’s Isle, accessible only by water.
“Bishop Frederick Doane of Albany agreed and the Mission of the Transfiguration was founded, with visiting clergy presiding. Early services were held in the village school and a private home, but primarily in the parlor of John Holland’s Blue Mountain Lake House.
Holland and his brother-in-law, Dr. Martine (who built the original Blue Mountain Lake House), soon donated land next to Steamboat Landing for a permanent church structure. On 19 July 1885 the present building was dedicated by Bishop Doane.” (source)
As I said, the structure of this church is aesthetically rustic Adirondack. The one-story structure consists of local rough-hewn spruce logs and a fieldstone foundation, and boasts a gabled roof and central belfry. The architectural plans for the structure were drawn by NYC architect Manly N. Cutter.
I didn’t see inside the church this morning – just took a quick walk around it. However, some of the interior features are what make this structure particularly interesting. The church features Tiffany Glass windows above the alter, and beside the organ.
“The stained glass windows above the altar and near the organ were donated by the church warden Henry Crane of Crane’s Point, Blue Mountain Lake. In the 1860s Dr. Thomas Durant was instrumental in bringing Crane up from NYC to be treasurer of the new Adirondack Railway. Durant soon convinced both Crane and others to build camps on Blue Mountain Lake.” (source)
The church’ has a Meneely Bell, from the Meneely Bell foundry established in 1826 in Troy, NY. Even more interestingly, this bell was donated to the Church of the Transfiguration by Mrs. Levi P. Morton, who would become the wife of president Benjamin Harrison’s VP.
The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, and continues to be open to the public for Sunday services. It’s a picturesque spot to stop and take a picture, and is certainly an interesting historic location right here in Blue Mountain Lake!
– Church of the Transfiguration wiki page
– National Register of Historic Places (Hamilton County)
– History of the Church of the Transfiguration and Historic Photographs
– Manly N. Cutter wiki page
– Meneely Bell Foundry wiki page