December 4, 2007
Sanctuary Sojourn - Tour Southold's Decorated Churches!
SOUTHOLD, NY. The Southold Historical Society is delighted to announce a special holiday tour of Southold's historic churches. The "Sanctuary Sojourn," as it is being called, will include five of the hamlet's churches, including Shiloh Baptist, the Universalist Church, St. Patrick's R.C. Church, Southold First Presbyterian Church, and the Southold Methodist Church. The tour will take place on Saturday, December 29th, 2007 from 1-3:30 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, children are free.
Religion was on the minds of all when Southold was founded more than three centuries ago. The congregational church would be first to serve the hamlet, and would do so nearly single handedly for over 150 years. In the 19th century, Methodists, Universalists, and Catholics would establish their own churches and community support groups. By the 20th century Baptist and African American churches had been established on the North Fork.
Each facility included in the tour will be decorated beautifully for the holidays and there will be live music at each location. "Most of us rarely set foot in another church except for the occasional wedding or funeral - this gives all the chance to see the beautiful interiors at a time of year when they at their very best," stated Geoffrey Fleming, the Southold Historical Society's Director.
The Tour will begin at Shiloh Baptist Church. Shiloh is one of the most contemporary churches on the tour, being founded in 1920. The church began in the homes of the Rev. E. A. Greene and Deacon Cleveland Howard. The famous Harlem minister Rev. Milton Sparks "Prophet Sparks" came to Southold and called the brethren there together to organize the Shiloh Baptist Church.
Next on the tour will be the Universalist Church. Designed by Richard Lathers and built by noted local architect and builder William D. Cochran, the church was erected in 1837,although the congregation had been organized as early as 1835. The interior of the church was painted by William R. Williamson, whose work was completed on August 27, 1837. The church was open to all who “openly acknowledge the Universality of the Grace of God.”
The third building on the tour is St . Patrick's R.C.C. Originally located opposite the Presbyterian Church on Main Road (on the site of the present Town Hall), the church was housed in the renovated Southold Collegiate Institute building and opened for services in 1864. It was one of the early Catholic Parishes located in Suffolk County at a time when Catholics were not always so welcome.
After the Catholic Church is the First Presbyterian Church. The building, the third, was constructed to replace the second church (meeting house) and was consecrated in 1803. It was the last of three buildings, the first serving from 1640-1684. When the first church was no longer found to be useful, it was sold to become the first jail for Suffolk County.
The final church building on our tour is the Methodist Church. Like the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church in Southold has had three buildings as well. Until 1818 the Methodists met in peoples homes, but in that year a small chapel was erected on the corner of Main Road and Boisseau Avenue to accommodate their growing membership. The second church was erected in 1851. The present structure, the third, located on Main Road opposite Beckwith Avenue, was dedicated on June 10, 1900.
At the conclusion of the Tour their will be a reception to at the Society's Ann Currie-Bell House, located on Main Road opposite the Southold Fire House. The house was completed in 1900 for the family of Joseph N. Hallock. He later served as the Town Clerk, President of the Board of Education, and President of the Southold Savings Bank. After his death the house was inherited by his daughter Ann Hallock Currie-Bell and at her death in 1964 the House was left to the Southold Historical Society. It, too, is fully decorated for the Holidays.
Tickets are $10 for adults, children are free. Tickets may be purchased or reserved by calling (631) 765-5500 or simply stop in at the Society's office on Main Road in Southold, next door to North Fork Bank. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour at Shiloh Baptist Church. For further details on this and other programs, please visit us on the web at www.southoldhistoricalsociety.org.