Huntington, NY - November 8, 2016 - This week the restoration of the 232 year-old steeple of Old First Presbyterian Church in Huntington, NY is set to begin. The church, a National Register of Historic Places Designated Landmark, is about to undergo a thorough and historically sensitive restoration of its iconic steeple. It is located on Main Street in Huntington, in front of Hecksher Park and directly across from Huntington Town Hall.
“The inaccessibility of the steeple reaching 100 feet has made maintenance of the structure difficult,” noted church Trustee and Chair of the Building Committee, John Collins. The last major restoration work done on the steeple was in 1957. Since that time routine painting has been done but little else. In recent years shingles have blown off as a result of ancient nails rusting away. Metal flashing installed in the mid nineteenth century has also begun to fail.
The present building and steeple being refurbished were built after the previous structure was dismantled by British troops during the Revolutionary War. After the end of the war in 1783, the townspeople of Huntington faced the enormous challenge of rebuilding their lives and community devastated by eight long years of British military occupation. Among all of the urgent needs facing them, the members of the congregation made the rebuilding of their church their first priority. The building was completed in 1784, a very visible expression of their faith and determination to succeed in the newly formed United States of America. The building of 1784 was comprised of the current steeple and sanctuary. A number of additions to the building were made over the next 200 years.
The restoration work on the steeple will return a number of early details to their original appearance, including restoring original paneled detail to areas covered by shingles in the nineteenth century, and the reintroduction of round head windows located at the top of the square part of the steeple. These will be custom milled from profiles of surviving profiles of the original windows. The scope of work will also include replacing deteriorated metal flashing and wood shingles. All exterior surfaces will be stripped to the bare wood, primed and repainted. The restoration work will be completed in accordance with the nationally recognized Secretary of the Interior’s standards for restoring and rehabilitating historic structures.
The Church has engaged the professional services of Jan Hird Pokorney Associates of New York for architectural services, and Lars Lindburgh of Tiny Houses, Inc. of Putnam Valley, NY as the general contractor.
The $300,000 project is being funded by capital fund contributions made by members of the congregation, and generous grants from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation and The New York Landmarks Conservancy ‘s Sacred Sites Program.
Old First Church is seeking support from the community to help complete this important and ambitious restoration project. For more information or to make a contribution, please contact Old First Presbyterian Church, 125 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 427-2101.
About Old First Presbyterian Church
Old First Presbyterian Church is a member of the Presbytery of Long Island and the Presbyterian Church (USA), a national Protestant denomination with 2,000,000 members and 10,000 congregations across the country. In Huntington, Old First dates back to 1658 and is currently an active congregation committed to serving the Huntington, national and international communities through a variety of outreach programs.