Friday, September 15, 2023

Preserving Hudson's Landmark Church

Twenty-first century technology is being employed to help preserve the 19th-century First Presbyterian Church thanks to a donation by Taconic Engineering, DPC, of Chatham. The engineering firm is laser scanning the entire building–from the basement to the tops of its two towers. The scans will be used to create a three-dimensional electronic model of the building that can be used in the future by architects, engineers, and construction companies working on the church. Taconic Engineering is donating these services to the church. 

First Presbyterian Church is an important historic, religious, and architectural landmark with a soaring east tower that dominates the skyline of Warren Street, Hudson’s main thoroughfare. The 186-year-old church is located at Fourth and Warren streets and houses the city’s official clock, a tradition that started in 1801. 

“The data collected by Taconic Engineering will provide us a digital representation of First Presbyterian Church that can be used in future preservation work,” said Gary Sheffer, president of the Friends of First Presbyterian Church, a secular non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the church. “It gives us the ability to see the church from all perspectives. We are extremely grateful to Taconic Engineering for this generous donation.” 

"We are honored to be able to help the church take this important first step. This partnership represents our commitment to preserving history and regional landmarks,” said Chad Lindberg, president and founder of Taconic Engineering. “Being a part of this project is a reflection of our dedication to honoring the past while embracing the future of our community." 

Digital scanning of the church should be completed in September. 

The Friends recently completed a project to install a new roof on the rear, original section of the church. Additional repairs are needed, among them masonry restoration, repairs to the towers, improving accessibility, and electrical work. 

The church’s principal stained glass window and its soaring Gothic steeple are well-known to city residents and passersby. A clocks in the tower of the First Presbyterian Church has been telling Hudsonians the time since 1802. Thousands have worshipped in the church, including Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States, and Hudson River School painter Frederic Church and his family.

Today, in addition to being a place of worship, the building is home to community groups that support performance, art, learning, civic gatherings, feeding the hungry. and other ministries, such as Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood and radio station WGXC. 

Following the completion of the roof project, the Friends group is turning its attention to developing a comprehensive preservation plan for the church, with a focus on the north facade of the building. If you are interested in joining the Friends or donating to the preservation campaign, please visit the Friends’ website.

1 comment:

  1. The technology described here sounds like the technology pioneered by the late Vassar professor of Art History Andrew Tallon, who used it to map Notre Dame cathedral in Paris several years before the catastrophic fire there. His mapping was expected to be a huge help in the rebuilding there.