Medina Journal-Register — Three Albion churches have been awarded Sacred Sites Grants by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
The organization, which awarded $275,000 total to 23 separate sites throughout the state, listed the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, the First Presbyterian Church, and the Cobblestone Church as award recipients.
“It’s vital to renew and repair religious buildings,” said Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “Not only do these sites convey their communities’ history, they serve their neighborhoods today with food pantries, nursery schools, concerts and a variety of worthy programs.”
The Pullman Memorial Universalist Church received a Sacred Sites grant of $3,000. Built in 1894 with monies provided by the railroad manufacturer George Pullman, who grew up in Albion, to the designs of Chicago architect Solon S. Bemans, the building is an excellent example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Its prominent crossing tower has been compared to Richardson’s Trinity Church in Boston. The interior is characterized by generous expanses of space and vivid colors imparted by 41 Tiffany stained glass windows.
The church is active in community affairs and runs a number of social programs from the building. The Orleans Count Genealogical Society holds monthly meetings in the church hall and semi-annual fundraising events. The Eastman School of Music hosts periodic concerts about twice a year. There are public lectures offered for the community on various topics, along with community organization meetings.
The First Presbyterian Church was awarded a $1,500 Sacred Sites Grant. This church is located in the heart of the Orleans County Courthouse Historic District. Completed in 1874 by Rochester architect Andrew Jackson Warner, the building is constructed of locally quarried Medina brownstone with typical gothic-inspired details. The most significant element of the building composition is the 175-foot-high brownstone tower and spire that is the tallest structure in Orleans County. The interior is simple, with gothic-revival vaults and ribbing, light stenciling, and original pews.
The church’s attached parish center serves a number of local organizations, among them the Orleans County Nutrition Project, Nutrifair, Meals-on-Wheels, the Take-off-Pounds Sensibly program, and various Twelve-Step meetings. There is a garden club, Girl and Boy Scout Troops, and Daisy and Cub Scout meetings. The church also operates a summer Bible School, and hosts an annual Strawberry Supper.
The Cobblestone Church received a $1,000 Sacred Sites grant. This two story, three-bay, “meetinghouse style” church is constructed from cobblestones. The building displays a local building technique from the 19th century that used round field stones set into mortar. Ninety percent of the cobblestone buildings in the US are found within a 75-mile radius of Rochester. Local granite is used for quoins at the corners, and the ridge is topped by a simply staged wood tower.
This church is used for concerts, lectures, and historical programs. The space is also used for wedding and memorial services, and guided tours focusing on cobblestone masonry construction and its historical significance to the area. The undercroft is used for educational programming and exhibits related to the small hamlet of buildings the museum stewards, as well as other cobblestone buildings located in about a twenty mile stretch between Rochester and Albion. In 2012, there were several events commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Recently the church held a gravestone preservation workshop.