Historians, residents work to preserve historic Orient church

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ORIENT -

Historians and residents on the North Fork are attempting to preserve a historic church recently listed for sale.

The Methodist churches in Cutchogue, Southold, Orient and Greenport recently consolidated into one North Fork congregation and have placed the church on the corner of Village Land and Orchard Street in Orient on the market. The United Methodist Church wants $950,000 for the church, which dates back to 1836. 

Some residents say they fear a sale to a private owner would alter the village's character.

The Oysterponds Historical Society is hoping to raise the money in order to preserve the two acres of property. 

"It's a special church because it sits right in the heart of the village of Orient," says Ellen Zimmerman, of the Oysterponds Historical Society. "At the time it was built, Orient was a very prosperous shipping and farming community."

Community members believe they have a temporary solution in the Peconic Land Trust – a private nonprofit that says it would buy the building to hold temporarily and grant the historical society time to raise the funds.

"We have a certain amount of time to raise the money and pay them back," Zimmerman says.

Legislator Al Krupski is also asking the county to consider purchasing the property with land preservation money.

Community members who spoke with News 12 marveled at the church's beauty. It features carved wood, stained glass windows and a 100-year-old organ. 

"Once these parcels are gone, they are irreplaceable," Krupski says.

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