Thursday, February 9, 2017

Saving Hudson's Most Beloved Church

In November, Gossips shared the sad news that the First Presbyterian Church had been found to have serious structural issues. A report by Ryan Briggs and Clark Davis, engineers and recognized experts in assessing historic structures, warned that the roofing framework had deteriorated significantly. Some roof rafters and beams had become detached from exterior load bearing walls. Others were no longer solid--having suffered from 180 years of stress, settling, and moisture. The news was a particularly hard blow for those who only a year before had celebrated the restoration of the church's major stained glass window.

Photo: Dan Region
The First Presbyterian Church is an integral part of Hudson's history. The first church to be established in Hudson, it was once the largest congregation in the Hudson Valley. It is also an integral element of the architecture of Hudson's main street. Nearly every photo of Warren Street includes the church and its iconic steeple. Hudson would not be Hudson without this majestic church building.

Photo: Tony Cenicola|New York Times

"Because our membership assembles in this beautiful building, the public assumes there is funding for overhead and maintenance," explained Kathryn Beilke, pastor of the church. "The truth is that we are a very small congregation, and one of our core principles is that we welcome everyone. That often includes people without the means to support such a massive undertaking. We realize we have a duty to the city of Hudson to ensure that this historic treasure doesn't deteriorate. But we can't do it alone."

To enable everyone who values this church to assist in the effort to preserve it, the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church have created a donation page to raise the money needed to correct the structural issues and open the church to its congregation and the public once more. Click here to go that page and make a contribution. Questions about the preservation efforts can be directed to the president of the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church, Philip Forman.


  1. No mention of what the repair estimate is, just a blanket donation page.

    1. I left this information from the press release out of my post, because I didn't think it was necessary, but apparently it is:

      Just to stabilize the existing structure will cost between $50,000 and $100,000. To completely restore the structural integrity of the roof will require substantially more.

      Phil Forman, president of the Friends of the Presbyterian Church, has announced the launch of a campaign to raise the funds. “We are still awaiting estimates for a complete restoration,” he said. “Until we have a vetted scope and willing contractor for the entire project, I don’t want to quote a specific number.”

  2. I agree, the scope of the project should be clearly posted to motivate fundraising. Also, if the fundraising page had a contact person, I'm sure many people (including NYC weekenders) would be interested in helping on the project.

    1. The name of the contact person, Phil Forman, and the link to his email address are provided in the post.

  3. I do hope that the Church Elders consider having the entire building inspected by an Engineering Firm in addition to seeking donations.