2 Albion churches featured as Sacred Sites

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Historic churches will showcase architecture May 18-19

Photos by Tom Rivers – The First Presbyterian Church in Albion completed a $300,000 renovation and restoration of its interior about five years ago, including work on the rose window.

The Pullman church includes this stained-glass window, an early work by the famed Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company of “Christ the Consoler.”

ALBION – Historic churches around the state on May 18-19 will open their doors to showcase the architectural wonders inside the buildings.

Two Albion churches, First Presbyterian and Pullman Memorial Universalist, are participating in the third annual “Sacred Sites” tour in New York, an event aimed to raise public appreciation for the churches as community treasures with stained-glass windows, pipe organs, ornately carved pews, decorative paintings and murals.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy is spearheading the Sacred Sites tour. The organization has provided about $7 million in grants to churches in New York since 1986. The two Albion churches are among the recipients of Sacred Sites awards.

Both churches are eager to participate in the tours and will be open both days from noon to 3 p.m.

“We love showing off our building,” said Lee Richards, pastor of the Pullman church at 10 East Park St.

The Pullman Memorial Universalist Church was built with Medina sandstone and includes 41 Tiffany stained-glass windows.

The church was built in 1894 with money from railroad manufacturer George Pullman, who grew up in Albion. The building is an excellent example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the NY Landmarks Conservancy stated. The church has 41 Tiffany stained-glass windows including one of “Christ the Consoler” that was featured in Tiffany brochures in 1898.

Richards believes the seven historic Albion churches have potential to draw more tourists to Albion. The community is unusual to have so many historic churches so close together on the Courthouse Square. They are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pullman and the Presbyterian Church have both committed to being open on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon on May 22 until the end of summer. The churches want to be available for canal visitors and community members who want to stop in to pray and tour the sites. The churches hope the other congregations in the Square will also open their doors and have docents available to lead tours.

The Presbyterian Church, with its 175-foot-high spire, is the tallest structure in Orleans County.

“Each church has something that is very special and should be shared,” said Martha Mitchell, an elder at the Presbyterian Church.

The church at 29 East State St. was built in 1874 and includes a 175-foot-high spire, the tallest structure in the county. Five years ago, the congregation completed a $300,000 restoration and renovation of its interior.

“We did a beautiful renovation that restores the church back to its Victorian décor,” Mitchell said. “We have a rich heritage with all of our nice windows and stories.”

Even the pews inside the First Presbyterian Church are works of art.

For more information about Sacred Sites, click here.