Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Jay Street Parish House

The Parish House for St. Paul’s Lancaster Street building was at 79 Jay Street, at the rear of the church building. It consisted of two buildings, both donated in memory of long-time members. This photograph, from the 1920 Year Book, is the earliest that shows both sections.

St. Paul's Jay Street Parish House, 1920

St. Paul’s Jay Street Parish House, 1920

The older section on the east side was built in 1883 through a donation by John Henry Van Antwerp in memory of his wife Martha Nancy Wiswall Van Antwerp, who had died in 1880.

John Henry Van Antwerp

John Henry Van Antwerp

John H. Van Antwerp was first elected to the vestry in 1858 and became senior warden in 1862. At the time of his retirement in 1902 he had served continuously as senior warden for an amazing 41 years.

The western section of the Parish House was built in 1920, with funds donated by Pauline Hewson Wilson in memory of her parents, George Powers Wilson and Helen Louisa Hewson Wilson.

George Powers Wilson

George Powers Wilson

Helen Louisa Hewson Wilson

Helen Louisa Hewson Wilson

Parish House Plaque

Parish House Plaque

George P. Wilson had served as vestryman for two periods (1876-1878 and 1884-1895) and two periods as warden (1895-1900 and 1908-1918), for a combined 28 years as vestryman and warden.

There are very few photographs of the exterior of these buildings. The next that I’ve been able to find shows the Van Antwerp section in May 1964, with the date 1883 visible just left of center.

St. Paul's Church Jay Street Facade May 1964

St. Paul’s Church Jay Street Facade May 1964

A few months later, in October 1964, a St. Paul’s parishioner took this photograph of the Parish House just before it was demolished. Several blocks to the south of the church had already been leveled, producing the only picture to show the entire building from a distance.

St. Paul's Jay Street Facade October 1964

St. Paul’s Jay Street Facade October 1964

The final image of the Parish House (from the Times-Union archive), taken a few days later, shows the buildings during demolition, with the 1883 date again clearly displayed.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church is demolished to make way the South Mall Oct. 19, 1964, in Albany, N.Y. Historic buildings and streets 1960s, Empire State Plaza. (Times Union archive)

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is demolished to make way the South Mall Oct. 19, 1964, in Albany, N.Y. Historic buildings and streets 1960s, Empire State Plaza. (Times Union archive)

The Lancaster Street Rectory

Church records no information about how housing was provided to St. Paul’s earliest rectors. Most of them seem to have rented or purchased houses in the neighborhood, although as late as 1869 J. Livingston Reese (rector from 1864 until 1891) was boarding at 67 Chapel Street, one third of a mile from the church. The first mention of plans for a rectory appears in our records in 1865, when the Sunday school donated $1,200 for purchase of the lot to the west of the church for that purpose from Miss Kate Wilson. This was an impressive amount of money, with an approximate current value of $18,000,  at a time when St. Paul’s had one of the largest Sunday Schools in the city, with almost 500 students and about 50 teachers. In 1867, funds for construction of the building were raised by a subscription and by the women of the parish.

There is some question about when the rectory was completed. Reese, Its first occupant, reported that he was first able to welcome guests there on New Year’s Day, 1870. But church historian Thomas H. C. Clemishire (whose father, John Clemishire was a carpentry contractor on the project) writes that contracts were let in June 1870. A January 1871 newspaper article says “A new rectory is already completed and occupied”, but adds information about what its dimensions and cost will be “when completed.” [Albany Evening Journal 28 Jan 1871] Perhaps it is best to say, as did Milton W. Hamilton in his 1977 history of the parish, that it “was built in 1870-71,” and that construction may have proceeded in stages.

Construction over a period of years would explain the building’s unusual design, which has been described as “post-Civil War eclectic, combining several stylistic trends of the period: French Second Empire, Venetian Gothic (arches with poly-chrome voussoirs), and maybe a bit of Italian Renaissance thrown in for good measure.”

The  rectory was “sixty feet in length by twenty-four feet in width, and three stories in height.” [Albany Evening Journal 28 Jan 1871].  The best photograph we have was probably taken about 1900. The rectory (80 Lancaster) is immediately to the right of the church. The house on the far right (82 Lancaster) was built in 1884 as the home of Anna Van Allen Jenison and her husband  E. Darwin Jenison, Vice President of the Commerce Insurance Company. Known as “the Swiss Chateau,” it was a wedding gift from Anna’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Garrett A. Van Allen, who were long-time members of St. Paul’s.

St. Paul's Church and Rectory

St. Paul’s Church and Rectory

I have been able to locate only three additional photographs of the Lancaster Street rectory. Then next two are snapshots that were taken in 1946 during an insurance appraisal.

Rectory 1946 002 v001

St. Paul’s Lancaster Street Rectory, 1946

Rectory 1946 001 v001

St. Paul’s Lancaster Street Rectory, 1946

Sadly, the fourth photograph was also most likely the last, taken shortly before the church and rectory were demolished in October 1964 for construction of the South Mall.

St. Paul's Church and Rectory, 1963 or 1964 (photo credit: Times-Union Archive)

St. Paul’s Church and Rectory, 1963 or 1964 (photo credit: Times-Union Archive)

Much of the neighborhood was demolished by mid-1963, so this undated photo may have been taken during the winter of 1963 – 1964. The church stands out clearly in the foreground, because its reddish or buff-colored brickwork had been painted white in 1960.  The rectory still exists, but is difficult to see behind the bare trees.

William Ingraham Kip’s Leave of Absence

While St. Paul’s fourth rector, William Ingraham Kip, is certainly the best-known of our early clergy, his fame is principally due to his later service as the first missionary bishop — and subsequently first diocesan bishop — of California. But Kip deserves our respect and remembrance as well for his role in leading this congregation through an early financial crisis that we might not have survived.

Within months of Kip’s appointment as rector in 1838, it became apparent that the congregation was (in the words of a contemporary vestryman) “hopelessly wrecked.” Kip and a new group of lay leaders had no choice but to sell the Ferry Street church in order to pay creditors. It was their genius, however, to realize that if the church was to survive it could not stay in Albany’s South End. Under Kip, the Pearl Street Theater was purchased and renovated, relocating the congregation to what was then the center of Albany’s most upscale neighborhood. In that new location, with dynamic leadership, both ordained and lay, the congregation thrived.

Wm. Ingraham Kip at St. Paul's altar (from an 1847 portrait by William Tolman Carlton)

Wm. Ingraham Kip at St. Paul’s altar (from an 1847 portrait by William Tolman Carlton)

The years that followed this new beginning were busy and stressful ones. While major creditors had been satisfied by the sale of the church, for several more years others submitted claims for payment. Kip led through this difficult period, attracting many new parishioners with his dynamic preaching. During the winter of 1842-1843, he also gave a series of lectures that were to be published as Double Witness of the Church, one of the most popular and influential books of theology in the Episcopal Church in the mid-19th century, printed in 25 editions.

All this activity must have taken its toll. At a special meeting on September 30, 1844, the vestry was read a letter from Kip, announcing (as summarized in the vestry minutes) “his intention of leaving the city for the winter on a Tour to Europe for the purpose of improving his health as he has been advised by his Physician and Friends.”

The suddenness of this announcement may have surprised the vestry, but illness among clergy in this period was common. St. Paul’s, in particular, had far too much experience with illness among its clergy. Our second rector, William Linn Keese, came to Albany already in frail health, which was further worsened by his providing pastoral care for both St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s Church during the cholera epidemic of 1832. He was forced to resign in 1833, his health completely broken, and died three years later, at the age of 33. Kip’s immediate predecessor, Joseph H. Price, on his resignation had cited “the severity of the climate of Albany.” And Kip’s successor, Thomas Alfred Starkey, was on medical leave for the last six months of his term as rector.

The vestry approved a leave of absence for Kip of no more than one year and appointed Vandervoort Bruce as interim rector. They closed their meeting by approving this statement:

Therefore it is unanimously resolved that the good wishes and earnest prayers of the Vestry for the safety and preservation of our much esteemed Rector and his family accompany them on their contemplated voyage to Europe, and their Tour on that continent, and that under the blessing of Divine Providence they may return in safety, and that with a renovated constitution he will again resume among his congregation the exercise of his holy functions.

Kip and his family left Albany on October 2, and on October 8, 1844 sailed from New York City to Paris. On November 12, Kip addressed a pastoral letter from Paris to his flock, signed by “your absent yet affectionate rector.”

Cover, Kip Pastoral Letters to the Congregation of St. Paul's Church (1845)

Cover, Kip Pastoral Letters to the Congregation of St. Paul’s Church (1845)

By January 9, 1845, Kip was in Rome, where he wrote a second pastoral letter. He seems to have spent the majority of his leave in Rome. Both letters were later published for distribution in Albany.

Kip took almost the entire year’s leave granted by the vestry. He returned to Albany in August 1845, and preached his first sermon on September 7, 1845. The leave of absence proved fruitful intellectually. Before the year was out, he had published Christmas Holydays in Rome, and he later wrote The Catacombs of Rome, which used research that he had done on the trip.

The Rt. Rev. William Ingraham Kip

The Rt. Rev. William Ingraham Kip

Kip’s leave of absence seem to have succeeded in restoring his health; he served the rest of his term in Albany in apparent good health, resigning in 1853 when he was elected missionary bishop to California.





St. Mark’s Chapel

During its first century, St. Paul’s Church supported three chapels in the city of Albany. They were all located in areas of the city that were underserved by other churches, and they were all “free,” meaning that they were supported by pledges, rather than by the sale and rental of pews, as was the case at St. Paul’s until 1927.

Today’s post concerns the last of these, St. Mark’s Chapel, which existed for five years, from 1909 until 1913. St. Marks was a project of St. Paul’s Chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew (“For the spread of Christ’s Kingdom Among Men”), which was chartered November 17, 1891. The Brotherhood was a small organization (rarely more than a dozen men), headed by the rector and with membership drawn from prominent parishioners.

The Brotherhood’s report in St. Paul’s Year Book for 1908 describes the background of this effort, and the initial plans for its development under the heading “The Delaware Avenue Chapel.”

 Under the auspices of the Brotherhood of Saint Andrew of Saint Paul’s Parish, a chapel will be established in the Delaware avenue section of the city sometime during the month of December. This work will be in line with similar efforts made by the Parish in past years. Many of the parishioners will remember Saint Paul’s Free Chapel, on lower Madison avenue, which was located in a fire engine house purchased from the city in 1867, and the night school which was maintained to give instruction in the “three R’s” of elementary education. This chapel was maintained until 1884 when it was sold. Then the “Pine Hills” section of the city began to be built up and a Sunday School was established to meet the needs of that section. Out of this came a reading room on Ontario street and finally the building of the present Saint Andrew’s Church, which became an independent Parish in 1899.

The up-building of the Delaware avenue section offers the same opportunities as did Pine Hills, and the Brotherhood of Saint Andrew has long felt that something ought to be done to provide a Sunday School for the children, and this will be their first work, and just as soon as it is feasible services will be inaugurated. The history of the Parish guarantees the interest of Saint Paul’s in this work. “To help others is to help ourselves.”

St. Mark’s was formally opened in January 1909 by the Rt. Rev. Richard H. Nelson, D.D., Bishop Coadjutor of Albany. The building, a remodeled storehouse, was located on what is now called Oneida Terrace, just off of Morton Street and only a few blocks from Delaware Avenue. The mission seems to have been a success from the beginning. One month after opening, plans were made to provide additional seating. And a year later, with a Sunday School class of twenty to twenty-five and attendance of forty to fifty at the services conducted by St. Paul’s curate Arthur H. Beaty, there was discussion of moving to a larger building.

By the 1912 Year Book, the Brotherhood was able to report movement toward construction of a church building for the Mission:

The work of the Brotherhood during the past six months has been almost exclusively given to the work at St. Mark’s Chapel. About seventeen hundred dollars have been given or pledge for paying for two lots on Delaware avenue as a site for a new chapel, and we expect to raise the balance, one thousand dollars during the winter.

Included with this report are two architectural renderings for the new building, one of the crypt,

Design for St. Mark's Crypt

Design for St. Mark’s Crypt

and one an elevation view of the church itself.

St. Mark's Church Design

St. Mark’s Church Design

But the Chapel never resumed after its summer break in  1913. The lease on the former storehouse could not be extended, and, while the funds for purchase of the Delaware Avenue lots were in hand, the situation had changed. We read in the 1913 Year Book:

The school year closed May 26, 1913, with the expectation that when work was resumed in the fall, it would be in a chapel building of our own. Owing to the possibility of too many Churches being erected in the Delaware avenue section of the city and resulting in ‘religious competition,’ the erection of a building for St. Mark’s has been deferred, and the school for the Chapel is for the present merged with the Church School.

This entry marks the end of an important experiment in community outreach for St. Paul’s. Year Books over the next dozen years continue to show balances in the St. Mark’s Chapel Account, but with no indication of plans to proceed with the project. It is possible that St. Paul’s Church decided that the Trinity Institute (begun in 1912 in Albany’s South End, with Bishop Doane’s blessing and financial support from all the diocese’s congregations) would be a more effective vehicle for social programs.





T. Frederick H. Candlyn Anniversaries 1938 and 1940

This photograph has hung in the robing room for choir men for many years, but we were never sure of the occasion represented, or the names of those pictured, other than T. Frederick Candlyn (St. Paul’s organist and choirmaster 1915 — 1943), who is seated in the center.  Thanks to a scrapbook compiled by parishioner Grace McKinlay Kennedy in 1940, we now know that the photograph was published in the Knickerbocker News for April 22, 1938, with all explained.

1938 Choir Boy Reunion with T.F.H. Candlyn

1938 Choir Boy Reunion with T.F.H. Candlyn

The event was a reunion of former boy choristers, probably occasioned by  the 23rd anniversary of Candlyn’s arrival at St. Paul’s that month.  In addition to Candlyn, those pictured are:

  • Ted Bearup
  • Ed Newcomb
  • Charles Tremper
  • Marion Henry
  • Harold Henry
  • Herbert Devlin
  • James McCammon
  • James Shattuck
  • Harvey Sayles
  • Raymond S. Halse
  • Russell LaGrange
  • Charles Loftus
  • Edward Jackson
  • Laird Robinson

In the same scrapbook, Grace McKinlay Kennedy included this drawing of Candlyn, published in the Knickerbocker News April 20, 1940, on Candlyn’s 25th anniversary at St. Paul’s.

T.F.H. Candlyn 25th Anniversary at St. Paul's

T.F.H. Candlyn 25th Anniversary at St. Paul’s

The scrapbook also explains a photograph of Candlyn that had puzzled us all. It shows Candlyn with George A. Taylor (St. Paul’s rector 1932 — 1948) standing in front of the chancel, with Taylor handing Candlyn what appears to be an umbrella.

Candlyn and George A Taylor, June 1940

Candlyn and George A Taylor, June 1940

This photograph, she tells us, is not from Candlyn’s 25th anniversary as organist and choirmaster. It was taken two months later, in June 1940, when Candlyn was honored for twenty-five years’ perfect attendance at Sunday School.