St. Michael's Church

Photo courtesy of Joan Ballard

St. Michael's Episcopal Church began as a mission in 1819. The parish was formally organized on May 17, 1823 at the home of Ebenezer Belden. Services, at first, were held in the Court House until a house of worship could be completed in 1828.

The first Episcopal Church was on the site of the present one. Consecrated on January 18, 1829, it is described by Lockwood R. Doty in the following words: “This church was of the old type of church buildings with vestibule, west gallery and belfry and served its purpose well for nearly forty years.”

A cornerstone for a new church was laid in 1866. The building cost over $33,000 (at least $25,000 of which was a gift of the Wadsworth family).  Services were again held in the Court House during the two years of construction.  The plans for this beautiful brick edifice with its graceful stone spire were by the architect, Henry Dudley, of the firm Draper and Dudley, New York, and were the gift of Mrs. Montgomery Ritchie. The work was carried out under the supervision of C. W. Less, also of New York.

In 1891, a Parish House Society was formed and over the next few years many fund-raising events took place. Rummage sales, Christmas bazaars, lawn festivals, and the like were enthusiastically attended, for a great need was felt for this addition. Plans for the Parish House were the work of Heins and LeFarge, designers of St. John the Divine in New York City. Patterned after the gothic style of the church, it was completed in 1898 and was dedicated on St. Michael's Day of that year.

Consecrated at the same time was the Rogers Memorial Chapel given by Nancy Wadsworth Rogers in memory of her only daughter.  The chapel is of a slightly later gothic style.

Since its dedication, St. Michael's has been enriched by many memorials. Stained glass windows by Tiffany, William Morris, and Pike Studios, along with tablets, chancel screen, gifts of brass and silver, etc., enhance the beauty of the interior.