The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

June 15, 2013

'Robber baron' helped provide landmark church in Roxbury


The Ladies’ Social Society bought a new site, closer to the village business district. A large sum was raised by subscription to add to the funding from Gould. Four houses were removed from the present site of the church to other locations on Main and Lake streets.

Ground was broken for the new church on Monday, June 19, 1893. The cornerstone was laid on Sept. 2. This was a structure built with no corners being cut, as far as architecture and expenses were concerned. Not counting the services of architect Henry James Hardenburgh, known for designing the state Capitol in Albany, the structure cost $113,000 to build and furnish. According to an inflation calculator, that would be worth about $2.93 million today.

The church’s interior features solid quartered oak, Indiana limestone arches, Italian terrazzo flooring and several stained glass windows by Tiffany and Maitland Armstrong. The three memorial windows in memory of Jay Gould are located in the apse, and are of the Savior, Mary and the angel. The window in the south end of the nave, in memory of Mrs. Jay Gould, is of the three great virtues: faith, hope and charity. Over the organ pipes is a window on which is represented a choir of angels. Over the Sunday school room the window scene is of Christ blessing the little children.

The church was dedicated on Saturday, Oct. 13, 1894. The first regular services were held the next day.

A magnificent structure such as this needs rounds of repairs and renovations, as time and the elements take their toll. Recent renovations included a slate roof at a cost of $68,000 in 1982, expected to last 80 to 100 years. Also during that decade, towers needed to be rebuilt and the exterior repointed with new mortar.

At a re-dedication service and potluck dinner in October 1990, the 130-member congregation celebrated the fact that eight years of repairs, totaling nearly $540,000, were complete. During the early 1980s, the congregation had debated whether the building should be restored or abandoned, due to such high costs.

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Mark Simonson

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