Just in time for Halloween! On a drive up to Cold Spring, I saw this church and promptly made a U turn to investigate. The combination of the fall leaves, cemetery and Gothic architecture made it irresistible.
This beautiful structure is known as Saint Philip’s Church in the Highlands. Although there has been an Episcopal church on this site since 1770, the construction for this church began in 1862. The barons of Garrison, New York, flush with cash from the foundry in nearby Cold Spring pumping out armaments for the American Civil War, decided the town needed a first rate edifice for worship, and doors opened in 1865.
The church has a wealth of history, including some revolutionary drama. The Episcopal church, known as the Chruch of England at the time of the American Revolution, was not very popular with the patriotic movement, as you might imagine. Being the preferred church of the Tory loyalists, it became a target. The story goes that one night an angry band of patriots approached the church with torches in hand, ready to burn it down and George Washington himself stepped in front of them, declaring “This, sir, is my church!” To this day there is a stained glass window in the vestibule featuring the church’s savior, George Washington.
Very special thanks to current pastor Francis Geer for the lovely tour and for relating all of the church’s wonderful history.