Historic Buildings, The First Hundred Years
Bay Road Presbyterian Church
A group of Scots emigrated from Lochmaben, Scotland to Queensbury in the 1840s and settled the area of French Mountain known as the Top O’The World. The Bay Road Presbyterian Church was organized September 12, 1850 by Rev. David W. French. The deed to the property was issued on 28th of April 1853 and signed between James Hanna and Reuben Seelye and three trustees, David Lauder, Alexander Orr, and Robert Lang. The church was built at the bottom of the mountain. A wooden Scotch thistle adorns the steeple. The first pastor was Rev. Chauncy Webster who served 20 years until his health declined. The church was closed until 1868 when Rev. James Lamb of Lake George came to hold services. The church celebrated its centennial in 1953 and is now over 150 years old.
The summer of 1866 a group of summer and year round residents organized the North Church at Kattskill Bay. Services were previously held at Rockhurst and in a nearby schoolhouse on Ridge Road. The East Lake George Union Sabbath School Society was formed on September 18, 1867 with Rev. Wesley Lee and Curtis North both of Brooklyn. The land was donated by Job and Miranda Mattison with lumber pledged by Sidney Irish. The cornerstone was laid in November 5, 1867 with the first annual meeting held on August 27, 1868. A large parsonage and horse barn and academy were also built on site. The bell in the tower was donated by Mr. North and the chandeliers imported from England were donated by Rev. Jacob Fehrman. No record exists of the origin of the 36 inch bronze and copper codfish mounted on the steeple looking like a weather vane – a religious symbol used by early Christians who settled this country. The fish which gave the church its name was stolen and returned several time and is now the property of the Lake George Historical Association. The church closed in 1981 and was put on the market for sale. Artist Scott Johnson bought the building and restored it. The rectory next door was beyond repair so the stone was used to construct a mammoth fireplace in the center of the church sanctuary. Johnson who was confined to a wheelchair due to a 1990 diving accident, died in the church in 2002. The current owners who reside there are Justin Talarski and Melissa Klebes. The church is believed to be haunted and has appeared on Sci Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.”
Harrisena Community Church
John J. Harris built the Harrisena Community Church as a gift for his wife who had taught Sunday School classes in the schoolhouse at Pickle Hill Road. The church was patterned after a Gothic style structure Harris saw in Canada. He hired the builder and brought limestone from Canada which was hauled overland in sledges by oxen. The first service held in the church was the funeral of John J. Harrisena in 1869. After the death of Mrs. Harris, the church was closed for 35 years. In 1903, the Church of the Messiah in Glens Falls gave their charge to Henry Crandall and the church became part of the Crandall Trust. In 1918 a ladies group reopened the church with summer services. Mrs. Louis Hyde in 1930 gave funds for electricity and refurbishing and the church was reopened as part of the larger parish of the Glens Falls Presbytery. In 1947, the congregation voted to incorporate as Harrisena Community Church. In 1952 the church withdrew from the greater parish and the church hired Rev. Gilbert Hellwig as a fulltime pastor in 1958. He was followed in 1964 by Rev. Calvin Wilson and in 1969 by Rev. Lamont Robinson who serves as pastor today. In 1962, the Education Building was built at the rear of the church to serve a large active membership. In 1974, the Crandall Trust relinquished its interest in the church, giving the deed to the trustees, and providing monies for refurbishing the building and an endowment fund. Church leaders were charged to look after the graveyard adjacent and to keep the church as a memorial to John J. Harris “in perpetuity”.
Friends Meeting – Oneida Community Church
The first Quaker Meetinghouse (church) was located at the corner of Bay and Quaker Roads. This building was a 20x 20 log structure and had separate sections for men and women to sit. It also doubled as a schoolhouse. Later, the second meetinghouse was built at the corner of Ridge and Cronin Road next to the Friends Cemetery. This church was moved overland to Sunnyside Road where it later became the Oneida Community Church which functions today. The Quakers had a large meetinghouse in Glens Falls for many years and finally joined the South Glens Falls Meeting as Adirondack Friends which is the last remaining meetinghouse in this area today.
Of over 200 barns in the town of Queensbury which were part of the agricultural era of the community. This large barn next to the home of Bill Richards on Ridge Road has the large initials GWB on its roof. The initials may stand for George W. Brayton or God Will Bless. The barn is a gable barn with post and truss construction. It was originally buff yellow with green trim. The farm property originally consisted of five barns, a blacksmith shop, corn crib and hen house plus a cattle barn located in the middle of the present Queensbury Golf Course. All of these structures were torn down or burned in 1960-62. George Brayton owned the property on Ridge Road for 14 years from 1866-1881.
District 10 Schoolhouse
The Upper Bay Road schoolhouse is also known as the White School stands at the northeast corner of Bay Road and Route 149. It remains intact as one of the original 26 neighborhood one room schoolhouses in Queensbury from 1805-1948. The district number remained until consolidation. In 1855, the wooden building was in good condition, valued at $500. Some forty teachers taught at the school over time. The schoolhouse is now red with an historic marker in front of the building and is privately owned.
Mountainside Free Library
Dunham’s Bay on Route 9N was the idea of Edward Eggleston, a noted 19th century writer and historian, in 1894. Edward’s son –in-law, Elwyn Seelye donated a parcel of land measuring 40 X 40 feet for the library. The Mountainside Free Library was built in 1904 from private donors and funds from Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist who established 2500 public libraries around the world between 1883 and 1929. The Chapman Historical Museum presented an historic preservation award to the library in 1998. Adirondack Architectural Heritage recognized the library in 2008 for its “simple style and respectable collection.” The town of Queensbury erected an historic marker at the site in 2009. Today the library is maintained by the Friends of Mountainside Library , a nonprofit organization and is open to the public on an honor checkout system. Local residents and visitors enjoy the collection year round.