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Church of the Holy Spirit in Rondout, Ulster County New York
History of the Church
"The Centennial History of the Protestant Episcopal in the Diocese of New York 1785 -1885" -Wilson (1886) in the parish histories says the Church of the Holy Spirit, Roundout was organized in 1850. The first edifice for public services was a chapel built by Miss Verplanck, about 1845. The present church was built in 1861. .....The Church property was the gift of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and extends the entire face of the block between Spring and Pierrepont Streets.........
"In addition to the earlier Presbyterians, other Protestant denominations, such as the Baptists, Congregationalist, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Reformed Dutch, built and maintained places of worship in Rondout, many of these edifices being built on or near Wurts Street, which clearly might have been called the holiest street in Rondout, or the "Avenue of Churches." Most of this ecclesiastical architecture was created between 1840 and 1870, a number of years after these congregations first had been established in more modest structures, often in other locations. Such was the case of the Baptist congregation, whose first house of worship was constructed in 1843 on Post Street between Abeel and Union Streets on land donated by John Wurts, the president of the D&H Canal. However, in 1859, when Thomas Cornell, who had become a deacon of the congregation, donated a building lot on the corner of Wurts and Spring Streets near his own home, a new and more impressive structure, called the First Baptist Church, was built and completed in 1861. Nearby stood the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, constructed on the corner of West Pierpont and Wurts Streets, and later purchased by Congregation Ahavath Israel; it was later sold by the congregation, becoming in turn St. Marks AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church.
Contributed by Lister Ralph Weller
Photography by Marilyn Soper
About a block from Wurts Street and the First Baptist Church, the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, called the German Lutheran Church, was completed in 1874 on the corner of Spring and Hone Streets; George Von Beck was a prominent parishioner there. In addition, dissatisfied members of the Trinity Church founded another congregation on Livingston Street about this time, and constructed their own church soon thereafter. Farther down Wurts Street, and two blocks up from the Presbyterian Church on Abeel Street, the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, now called the Trinity United Methodist Church, was constructed in 1867 on the corner of Wurts and Hunter Streets. Across town, on Hasbrouck Avenue, the Reformed Dutch Church of the Comforter was built in 1864 on territory occupied primarily by natives or locals. And in 1870, in Ponckhockie, on Abruyn Street, a Congregational church called the Union Chapel (or the Children's Church, because of its non-sectarian Sunday school) was erected by the Newark Lime & Cement Company for its employees. It was constructed entirely of cement mined locally, and originally boasted a spire 150 feet tall. Although the practice of religion flourished in Rondout for many years, by the middle of the present century economic and social conditions had altered, and earlier populations had moved to other parts of the county. As a result, the original congregations either declined in numbers - some from the hundreds to less than a few - or the composition of their membership changed. Some congregations combined temporarily or merged with others, some sold their places of worship and either moved up the hill to Kingston to begin again or dissolved their congregations altogether. A few of the original structures were later abandoned and demolished. In addition, new churches came to Rondout, filling the void: In 1912, the Redeemer Lutheran Church was built on the corner of Wurts and Rogers Streets, the last such structure to be constructed on this boulevard: the New Central Missionary Baptist Church and the Riverview Baptist Church were established in the East Strand; the Seventh Day Adventist Church was situated on West Union, the street where the Agudas Achim congregation had been; and in the old Temple Emanuel synagogue on Abeel Street, the Green Chapel House of Prayer is now maintained."
From RONDOUT: A Hudson River Port (1995) by Bob Steuding, page 94
Contributed by Lister Marilyn Soper
View current side and rear photos of the Church of the Holy Spirit