Centuries Old Church Becomes Handicap Accessible

Donna Denison stands next to the new Handicap Accessible door that leads from the Sanctuary into the Meeting House

Cazenovia’s Presbyterian Church is the oldest church in Madison County.  It stands as an icon to the beliefs and aspirations of early and mid-nineteenth century Cazenovians.  The congregation itself was formed in 1799 with Joshua Leonard as its first pastor.  It took seven years to establish the congregation and raise funds for the building.  The church was designed by renown Albany architect Philip Hooker and built by Nathan Smith of New Woodstock.  The church was originally located in 1806 on the north side of the Green, fronting Hurd Street, to be far away from the haunts of civilization …”far from the tents of joy and hope”, that is the local taverns.  When it became apparent that the activity and commercial center of the village were concentrating on the Albany Street Green, the church fathers picked up and moved the church in 1826 to its present location on Albany Street.  So the church now rests in the heart of downtown.

Now in 2018 this 200+ year old church is due to become 100% Handicap Accessible.  The steps from the Sanctuary to the Meeting House have been removed and a wide doorway now goes directly from the Sanctuary to the Meeting house.  The work is being done by Steve Riedel Construction.  Custom molding was made to match the existing molding of the chancel in the church by Dale Cornue.  A faux door was built to the left side of the chancel to give balance to the new real doorway.

In additional to the “pass-through” project, a totally handicap accessible family restroom will be redesigned from the existing women’s restroom.  Other existing toilets in the Meeting House required the use of stairs.

Funding for this project has come from members of the Presbyterian Church but also though memorial donations in honor of Karl Monson (Father of Sharye Skinner and son-in-law Dick Tuttle); Gabe Kinney (husband of Carla Kinney) Ann Harries (mother of Susie Grills and son-in-law Russ Grills), and long time member Marjorie Robbins.  The Kinney Drug Foundation gave a donation in honor of their employee, Gabe Kinney.

The First Presbyterian Church is still accepting donations to make this church 100% Accessible.  This 200+ structure is finally coming into the 21st Century.  Checks can be sent to Caz Pres Church Pass-Through Project. All donations are 100% tax-deductible.

A formal ribbon-cutting celebration will be held when all the work is complete.  But if you would like to see the progress the church is making, stop by sometime between 10:00 am to 2:00pm Tuesday through Friday or better yet come to Sunday worship at 10:00am.