Landmark Award 2017: East Bethany Presbyterian Church
Article by Cleo Mullins
East Bethany Presbyterian Church congregation is celebrating their 200th year. In 1826 plans were formulated to build their first church on land they had purchased from Edward Dixon. In church records, it was specified that the building was to be no less than 50x40 feet and was to be built of stone and brick. The bricks for this church were made at a brick factory about one mile south of NYS Route 63. The church was completed in 1828 in the Federal style. It had balconies on both sides of the sanctuary. In 1827 an acre of land was purchased from Edward Dixon for a burying ground behind the church. Many of the early members were buried here with the earliest date of 1841. Edward Dixon passed away in March of 1868 and is buried here. East Bethany Cemetery Association now owns the cemetery.
The first of several additions happened in 1949 and after excavation had started they had a heavy rain and the balconies were hanging as if they were going to break off. With help of the community, the balconies and supporting wall were saved. There are narrow staircases going to the balconies on both sides of the church entry. The doors going into the balconies have the antique door handles. We have a lovely view of the sanctuary from the balcony.
The last addition was put on in 1981, which included a conference room, pastor study, a new kitchen, bathrooms and fellowship hall. In 1989 a new sub-floor was put in the sanctuary to level the floor as it had been necessary to step up to enter the pews. Also, new oak wainscoting was put on the two outside walls under the windows, new carpet, and pews. Then the sanctuary was painted and new interior doors were installed. They were now ready to celebrate their 175th year as a congregation.
In years since new oak front doors have been added and in preparation for their 200th Anniversary they had the outside of the church painted last year. The church has been modified over the years but still retains its federal-style features.
The Landmark Society Preservation award goes to East Bethany Presbyterian Church for their Tender Loving Care.