First Presbyterian Church of Chittenango

During a meeting on January 12th, 1828 a decision was made to form the first church, which was to be a Dutch Reformed Church, in the Chittenango area. There were nine men present. This was just around 18 years after the village of Chittenango was started. The next meeting was a citizens' meeting on February 28, 1828, for the purpose of planning a church building. Andrew Yates was made the chairman of the committee. Dr. John B. Yates (who in 1825 became the founder of Yates Polytechny (the first manual labor school in the area)) donated the grounds for the church. 

The construction of the church building went quickly. The first formal ceremony was the laying the comer stone on April 24, 1828. Dimensions of the building was sixty by eighty feet and it cost just over $3300 to build. The building was of gothic style with arched windows and a twelve foot wide porch. The steeple was made of wood and contained four short spires with one on each corner. On December 25, 1828, there was an auction of the "slips" (pews). 

The church was dedicated January 15, 1829 with The Honorable Judge John B. Yates delivering the address. The first pastor was Rev. Hutchins Taylor and he stayed on through 1830. He received $200 annually and use of a house. Between 1829 and 1888, there were a dozen Dutch Reformed ministers. 

At a meeting of the church and congregation on April 28, 1888, a resolution was presented asking the church be made a member of the Syracuse Presbytery. The resolution was read again and passed at another church meeting with a vote of 21 for and 3 against on May 17, 1888. This was the first church meeting at which the ladies were allowed to vote. Rev. Charles H. Walker became the first Presbyterian minister. During the winter of 1888, fifty-three new members were added to the church. 

On October 5, 1918, the steeple of the church was struck by lightning. There was thought that the fire would only be confined to the roof. Unfortunately, the only fire-fighting equipment possessed by the village was an old hand pump which could not force water high enough to reach the flames. and the building engulfed in flames. The church building was destroyed except the four stone walls standing high and bare. At the time, the value of the building and it's contents was $50,000. 

The fire had occurred on a Saturday so there were no services Sunday. On Sunday, October 12, 1918, services were held in Union Hall. Afterwards, services were held in the old Polytechnic Chapel, until the church was re-roofed and the basement completed. The first service in the church after the fire was in the basement the first Sunday in September, 1920. In September of 1925, the first service occurred in the newly rebuilt auditorium. The only important change in rebuilding was placing the choir loft and organ in the east end of the church instead of the west. Membership increased and in 1939 the church membership was 142. 

Tragedy struck yet again on October 3, 1943 when a wood burning furnace started another fire. The church was a complete loss, just two days short of the 25th anniversary of the last fire. Restoration cost $60,000 this time and took almost four years to complete. 

The 5,000 square foot educational wing was added on June 11, 1967. It consisted of classrooms, a dining room and kitchen, library, study and storage areas. It was dedicated to the memory of John R. Kay. 

 

(Taken from a tract written by Juanita Comstock called "The First Presbyterian Church of Chittenango, New York 1828 to 2003" and "Sullivan In History" written by Claude E. Nichols and published in 1939 by McHenry Press.)

9:30 am - Coffee Hour (September - June)
9:45 am - Sunday School for children & adults (September - June)
11:00 am - Worship

The First Presbyterian Church
118 Arch Street
Chittenango, NY 13037  

Church Main Line:
315-687-7355
Prayer Line:
315-687-7729
Church Second Line:
315-687-1034