Gazing up at this edifice’s imposing 37-foot-tall columns and weathered façade, you might think you’ve taken a brief trip across the Atlantic to Greece. In reality, you are in one of the Valley’s largest cities, looking at a church in the Greek Revival style designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. Constructed in 1835, the structure dwarfs all other buildings in the vicinity.
One of the most influential architects of the 1800s, Davis designed structures all over New York State and created his distinctive “Hudson River Bracketed” house style. One of his most famous achievements is Lyndhurst, railroad magnate Jay Gould’s former estate in Tarrytown.
Davis’s only remaining church in the Greek Revival style, this building had more than a century’s use before the cost of upkeep caused its congregation to move out in 1964. Since then, the structure has continued to fall into disrepair despite the restitution efforts of community members. Inside, the pews and balconies remain as austere and simple as they were in 1835. The exterior, however, has weathered more than one severe storm: The roof was completely blown off during a hurricane in 1950. The towering front columns also received a face-lift in 2006 to prevent them from crumbling to the ground.
In 1998, Hillary Rodham Clinton stood in front of the church and spoke about historic preservation as part of the Save America’s Treasures tour. Since then, the edifice has earned its title as a National Historic Landmark in 2001 and has become a focal point for the preservation of important but forgotten properties. Area residents are trying to raise money in the hopes of completely restoring the iconic church, and reestablishing it as a community asset.
Can you identify this timeworn house of worship, and the Valley city where it stands? Send us your answer as a comment in the box below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!