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Our History

Contents
1818: Our Foundation and the Church Building

Our congregation first met on September 8, 1818, when a group of five men and eleven women gathered in a barn... Read More...

 
1918: Our Centennial Celebration

The most significant change to our church building in the years leading up to our Centennial Celebration was the installation of a new pipe organ in 1917. Read More...

1965: Stained Glass Windows

In 1965, new windows were installed in the sanctuary, as well as the rest of the church. Read More...

 
1968: Remodeling for Our Sesquicentennial

During the 29-year pastorate of Rev. William J. Cartmell, our building expanded to better serve our community. Read More...

 
1990s: The Broadcast Era

Starting in the mid-1990s and continuing for about a decade, our Sunday worship services were broadcast on network television. Read More...

 
2004: Millennial Modernization

The new millennium brought many changes to the church building under our new pastor, Rev. Bev's guidance. Read More...

2018: Our Bicentennial Celebration

In 2018, our newly installed pastor, the Reverend Cara S. Milne, created a small group of dedicated workers to organize an exciting Bicentennial gathering of new and former ministers, members and congregants. Custom invitations were designed and note card sets offered as mementos of this significant historic event.

invitation
notecard '18
notecard '33
notecard '68

 

Our September 9th worship service was followed by this historical "walk through time", complete with a fully catered buffet line and a display of church artifacts which were lovingly brought from their decades-long hibernation in the various cupboards, storage rooms, and attic vaults throughout our building.

During this celebration, our retired former full-time pastor, the Reverend Beverly Karr-Lyon (known affectionately as "Rev Bev"), was also honored with Pastor Emeritus status.

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On December 23, 2019, the New York Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation notified the congregation that the First Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen property - including the manse - was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, America’s official list of properties worthy of preservation.

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Listing on the National Register recognizes the importance of these properties to the history of our country and provides them with a measure of protection. Properties owned by not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for state historic preservation matching grants. Although the Buildings and Grounds Committee is not currently seeking matching funds for any projects, this gives us a welcome option for the funding of any future major projects.

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2020: COVID Shutdown

With only two years in Watkins Glen, Pastor Cara found herself at the helm of another turning point in our congregation's history; or rather, in all of history! A new strain of coronavirus ravaged the world's population as nothing had in the previous century. Read More...

 
Ongoing: Charitable Programs

As we continue to maintain, repair and refurbish our beautiful Romanesque building, of course, we are ever mindful of the fact that the true Church is the body of believers, and not just a piece of architecture. Read More...

Additional Resources

Much of this information was taken from "A Brief History: United Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen, N.Y." by Abigail O'Daniels, dtd. October 20, 1968. (Get PDF Reader)

 

For additional information about the history of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, please refer to extensive resources available at "Presbyterian Historical Society: The National Archives of the PC(USA)."

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Pastors Through the Years
Sixth & Decatur (1868-Present)

2017 Rev. Cara S. Milne

2016 Rev. Cynthia A. Weaver *

2015 Rev. Nancy Meehan Yao *

1997 Rev. Beverly Karr-Lyon †

1996 Rev. Thomas C. Montgomery *

1987 Rev. W. David Ashby
1985 Rev. William R. Knox *
1969 Rev. Clark N. McKinney
1939 Rev. William J. Cartmell
1934 Rev. Clayton T. Griswold
1916 Rev. Arthur B. Herr, D.D.
1910 Rev. James Elmer Russell
1905 Rev. Selden L. Haynes
1893 Rev. Louis F. Ruf
1888 Rev. Bryce K. Douglas
1882 Rev. George D. Meigs
1877 Rev. Milton Waldo D.D.
1876 Rev. William Lowrie
1870 Rev. J.S. McNair

* interim pastor

pastor emeritus

 

Fifth & Decatur (1847-1868)

1860 Rev. Franklin S. Howe
1855 Rev. Benjamin Russell
1847 Rev. S.B. Shearer

 

The Savoy Site (1833-1847)

1843 Rev. Samuel Stryker
1838 Rev. Samuel Scott
1836 Rev. Royal West
1835 Rev. Egbert Roosa

 

The Diven Barn (1818-1833)

1832 Rev. Charles Goodrich
1831 Rev. David Harrower
1829 Rev. Richard Williams
1826 Rev. Jabez Chadwick
1826 Rev. Samuel White
1825 Rev. Henry Ford
1822 Rev. Joseph Crawford
1821 Rev. Lyman Barrett
1818 Rev. Samuel Parker
1818 Rev. David Higgins