The New York Landmarks Conservancy recently announced 23 Sacred Sites Grants totaling $294,500 will be awarded to historic religious properties throughout New York state — including $1,500 to the First Presbyterian Church in Cazenovia.
“You don’t have to be religious to understand that religious institutions contain some of our finest art and architecture. Many also provide vital social service programs and cultural activities that make significant contributions to their communities,” said Peg Breen, president of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “The First Presbyterian Church in Cazenovia, New York was pledged a $1,500 grant towards a project to repair and replace rotted and missing trim on the wood tower. Past grants for the church have supported stained-glass restoration, roof and structural repairs and steeple restoration.”
The First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia was the first church built in Cazenovia and was moved to its present location on the village green in 1828. The wood-frame building was designed by Philip Hooker, the designer of Hyde Hall in Cooperstown and many public buildings in Albany, and was completed in 1806.
It is an exceptional example of the Federal style. The white clapboard building has a distinctive bell tower and steeple that dominates the green. Its interior is straightforward, with simple leaded windows highlighted by red glass. An 1867 wood-frame residence adjacent to the church, known as Wendell House, serves as a religious school and community building.
The congregation noticed that after storms last year, pieces of wood trim from the blind rose-windows in the sides of the bell tower had fallen. A closer inspection by local contractors revealed much more extensive rot and damage to these areas of the tower. A site visit confirmed water staining on interior framing members.
The restoration proposal from the local firm of Woodford Brothers Inc. includes the removal of rotted trim, rosettes, clapboards, shakes and sheathing from the tower (using a lift) and the replacement in-kind with southern pine (not pressure-treated.)