Friday, November 6, 2009

Mystery of the Darrowsville Church


Photo by T.J. Hooker - thooker@poststar.com 
The Darrowsville Church, a former Wesleyan Methodist church in the town of Chester, has been abandoned since the 1930s. Town officials want to demolish what remains of the dilapidated structure for safety reasons but demolition cannot be started until ownership of the building is established.   Photo and caption courtesy of The Post Star

A story like this absolutely fascinates me --> Unsafe Church Building Poses Quandary For Town.  In fact, old buildings that are in disrepair fascinate me.  I know there's a saying, "If these walls could talk..." but I really, really wish they could. I wish I knew the stories of this church.  Think back - at one time there must have been a hopeful congregation that got together to build the church.  Think of the weddings, the baptisms, the Christmas services that took place here.  What happened that caused the congregation to dwindle?  Was there some horrible scandal?  Some crazy preacher that drove away the parishoners?  Or was it something more innocuous, like a thriving industry in the town closed down and most of the people moved away?


Photo by T.J. Hooker - thooker@poststar.com
This just seems so sad.  Can you imagine people coming through the door on Sunday mornings?  Catching up with neighbors, all dressed in their Sunday best?  Someone ringing the churchbell... What happened?

No one can even determine ownership - it's like an orphan, this poor, old, sad Adirondack church.  Year after year, still empty, little by little falling down....  Look at the gravestones in the cemetery - most of those people must have attended this church, even built the church - but they can't tell the story either. (There is a transcription of all the gravestones here.)  The Rev. Thomas Baker is buried there - "The Rev. Thomas Baker, the second pastor of the Darrowsville Wesleyan Methodist Church, is believed to have hidden fugitive slaves at the church parsonage, which was located next door to the church." (from the book "The Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks").  I wonder if that parsonage building is still standing?  What other history is here that we don't know?

What were the thoughts of those last few Trustees?  I wish I knew.  Now they're all gone.

I guess that's why I find dilapidated buildings so interesting - I know there is a story there.  I keep checking back on the article to see if anyone posts any comments - maybe somehow out there *is* someone who knows something more, a new tidbit of information, but still no comments.  Still a mystery...

The end.

5 comments:

  1. Fascinating! Why not research the tax maps at the county's real property office... then enter the tax map # into a school tax computer program and it will give the owner who pays the taxes. Well,... it should do that, but such a simple answer has probably already been tried. Very strange that the owner is unknown. Like I said,.. fascinating!

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  2. I love this stuff too. I often wonder if buildings/historical structures that aren't necessarily dilapidated could talk....like the Pok train station or the Luckey Platt building...how interesting.

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  3. What's REALLY REALLY weird is that I had a dream last night about seeing a building similar to this one, in such disarray.

    OK I'm freaked out now.

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  4. It's too bad that it's in such disrepair. It would be great to let is remain standing if it were possible. I hope that they can save parts of it and keep it somewhere. Maybe another church would take a piece and keep it as a historical memorial.

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  5. Carole, I love old barns and homesteads in the same way - I just find abandoned buildings extremely fascinating and I am nosey to begin with!

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I read each and every comment, and though I don't always get a chance to respond, I enjoy reading (and pondering) what you have to say. Thanks for your 2 cents! :-)

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