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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sacred Sites: Christ Church Episcopal in Duanesburg

The New York Landmarks Conservancy asked churches across New York State to open their doors to visitors on May 21 and 22.  I chose to visit churches I found listed in the May 18 Times Union newspaper article, starting in Duanesburg.

Christ Church Episcopal is
a local landmark on the
corner of Route 20 &
Duanesburg Churches 

Built in the very late 1700s
(around 1793), this small
church has an active

Christ Church Episcopal was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987.

The main entrance is on the
side of this wooden

Each pew is closed in
by a door.

Christ Church Episcopal follows the Anglican Church practices of England, where pew rental was common.  In Europe, churches were traditionally built without seating.  Church services evolved over many years and sermons became central to church services, making seating a necessary feature. Money needed to be raised to add seating.  Churches relied on congregants to pay for their pews and then the owners paid a rental fee to maintain them.  This practice came to the colonies, and many of the earliest churches had enclosed, rented pews.

Collecting fees for seating was abandoned years ago, and the enclosed pews remain. 

Eric surveys the church from
the base of the raised

Memorials for deceased church
members line the walls.

The gallery stretches the length
of the church.

The minister climbs these
stairs to the pulpit.

Another photo of the pulpit.

The hexagonal "disk" above
the pulpit was added to
improve the acoustics
in this small building.


Memorials for the Honorable
James Duane & his wife,
Mary Livingston, which is
behind the altar.

Christ Church Episcopal was built above a crypt, which was sealed off years ago.  Some of the earliest members of the church are buried there.

This is me, at 5 foot 8 inches,
in front of the side doorway.

I assumed that the doorway is short because people living in the newly independent America were short; considerably shorter than people are today.  I was wrong.  The average height of men in America in the late 1700s was 5 foot 8 inches.  Research of the height of doorways resulted in this theory:  The doorways were constructed this way because builders copied the styles of buildings in England, including short doorways.

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