175-year-old Northport church gets state historic landmark status
Parishioners at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Northport are celebrating the historic landmark status their house of worship just received.
“Our church dates back to the 1700s when Methodist circuit riders would come to the village,” says parishioner Alan Vitters.
The church is now listed on New York’s Register of Historic Places and it is hoped the church will receive the same national status as well.
The church began the journey toward obtaining the status in an attempt to receive grant money to restore the bell tower from 1872.
“We added back some features to the steeple that had been lost over the years,” says parishioner Jane Fenton.
The building on Main Street was erected between 1872 and 1873 and was built by Northport's famed shipbuilders as a sign of the church's desire to be progressive back in the early 1900s.
The pastor invited Booker T. Washington, one of the most prominent Black reformers and educators of his time, to speak to his congregation.
“He met some resistance from both parishioners as well as people in the village,” says Vitters. “But he persevered and gave a lecture here, a sermon here and it was very well received.”
“Those are big shoes to fill to stand at the same pulpit where Booker T. Washington once spoke,” says Rev. David Czeisel.
The New York State Conservancy and the Gardner Foundation granted $35,000 to the church to be used to rebuild the roof and restore it.