Today we join our brothers and sisters at St. Andrew’s Church in celebrating the 125th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for their first building. The service commenced at 4:00 in the afternoon of July 19, 1897, with the reciting of versicles, collects and prayers, as well as singing of two hymns and Psalm 132. In the absence of St. Paul’s organist, George Edgar Oliver, the music was conducted by Frederick W. Mills, who had until recently been organist of Trinity Church, Albany.
St. Paul’s rector, Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., laid the cornerstone, using a silver trowel specially made for the occasion. Five years earlier, Jewett (then St. Paul’s curate) had organized the Chapel of St. Andrew, St. Paul’s third chapel in this city.
The cornerstone, marked only with the cross of St. Andrew and the year, stills exists. It is embedded in the wall of St. Andrew’s parish house, on the site of the original chapel building.
Newspaper accounts of the event list the many clergy who attended, arriving in three horse-drawn carriages.
- Thomas White, rector of Church of the Epiphany, Rensselaer
- William F. Bielby, rector of Church of the Messiah, Rensselaer
- F. St. George McLean, rector of Trinity Church, Albany (and former St. Paul’s curate)
- Robert Dent Silliman, rector of Grace Church. Albany
- Paul Birdsall, curate at St. Peter’s, Albany
- Dr. Walton W. Battershall, rector of St. Peter’s, Albany
- Freeborn G. Jewett, rector of St. Paul’s Albany
- Archdeacon Frederick Schroeder Sill, rector of St. John’s, Cohoes
- Dr. Edward Wilcox Babcock, rector of Holy Cross Church, Troy
- Eaton W. Maxcy, rector of Christ Church, Troy
- James Alnutt Smith, curate at St. Paul’s, Troy
- Dr. James Caird, rector of Church of the Ascension, Troy
- Canon Thomas B. Fulcher. canon precentor of All Saints Cathedral, Albany
- Dr. Leonard Wood Richardson, professor of Greek and Latin at the Albany Normal College and priest associate at St. Peter’s, Albany
Construction of the chapel building was completed over the next four months, and the building was consecrated on St. Andrew’s Day, 1897. With the continued hard work of the chapel congregation, and the continued support of St. Paul’s, St. Andrew’s was to become an independent parish less than two years later, on May 15, 1899.