HISTORIC HOMES OF HERKIMER COUNTY
THE EVA P. HARTER HOME
This clipping appeared for the first time on February 16, 1949 in Herkimer's Evening Telegram, and was reprinted by the Herkimer Evening Telegram on March 24, 2001. This unique home has an interesting history, as you will observe reading the article from the newspaper. This is typed exactly as it appeared in the newspaper.
Thank you to Beth A. Brewer, publisher of the Evening Telegram, for permission to reprint historical articles on our site.
"One of the most unusual homes in Herkimer is the residence of Mrs. Eva P. Harter at 123 W. German St. This two-story, wooden frame house attracts attention at once because of the extremely steep pitch of the roof. The odd architectural style is due not to its age, however--though it is nearly a century old--but to the original use of the structure as the first Episcopal Church in the village.
The building, then located at the corner of N. Main and W. German Sts., site of the present John D. Henderson home, and facing Main St., was consecrated as a chapel by the Rt. Rev. Horatio Potter, bishop of the diocese of New York on Oct. 4, 1855. The land had been purchased on July 10, 1854 and a contract made at that time with Alexander Underwood to erect the chapel.
The first attempt to organize an Episcopal Church was made in 1833. On Jan. 26 of that year, articles of incorporation were drawn up and signed. Andrew A. Barton of Herkimer presided, with Flavel Clark and Robert Shoemaker certifying the proceedings.
Barton, Shoemaker, John Brown and Frederick Bellinger were elected church wardens. Vestrymen were Brown, Shoemaker, Elias Root, Ira Backus, Clark, James B. Hunt, Simon Ford and James Firman. The name of St. Luke's Church, German Flatts, was adopted but after a futile attempt to erect a church building in the area between Mohawk and Herkimer, the society united with others in building a union church at Mohawk, later to become Presbyterian.
Six years later on March 23, 1889, a new organization was formed, known as Christ's Church, Herkimer, and this name was destined to survive. Rev. Thomas Wood presided at the incorporation meeting. Barton and Matthew Myers were elected wardens and Charles Kathern, Erwin A. Munson, Bloomfield Usher, Theodore A. Griswold, Benjamin Harter, Homer Caswell, Anson Hall and Robert Ethridge, vestrymen.
At this time services were held in the Court House, in the Reformed Church and the Methodist Church. A church building was planned at the corner of N. Washington and Green Sts. Ground was broken and work even begun but the plans were not carried to fruition.
It remained for the church group organized Feb. 20, 1854, to finally provide the first church building. The Rev. Owen P. Thackery presided at the organization meeting. Byron Laflin and Samuel Earl were elected wardens, Hubbard H. Morgan, William Howell, Jr., Benjamin F. Brooks, Beekman Johnson, George W. Thompson, Jacob Spooner, Charles Kathern and Elkanah T. Cleland, vestrymen. Under their direction the first church building was completed in 1855.
Next addition came while Rev. H. G. Wood was rector between 1864 and 1871, with completion of a commodious schoolhouse and rectory adjoining the church. By 1875 the number of communicants was listed as 110.
Then, in 1887, it was decided to build a new church structure on the lot at the corner of Main and Mary Sts. By July 23, 1888 plans had been approved and on Sept. 27 it was voted to also build a parish house and rectory. On Oct. 6, 1888, the cornerstone of the new church was laid by Bishop William Croswell Doane. The completed structure was consecrated by the bishop on Nov. 7, 1889 and remains in use today.
No longer needed as a church building and built too well to tear down, the original chapel was sold some time before the turn of the century and removed to its present location, turned to face W. German Street.
The interior of the building was also renovated to provide three bedrooms upstairs and a dining room, living room and kitchen downstairs. Today the original wainscoting may still be seen and one of the old church windows, which swings in and out, still remains.
Mrs. Harter, the present owner, bought the property in August, 1937. The search on her deed traces the land back to Samuel W. Stimson, Jr., who conveyed the lot to Alonzo Rust on June 18, 1873. A portion of the property was transferred to Isaac Mason and H. Wallace McKenzie on May 18, 1878 but the bulk of the estate was disposed of by the Rust executors to Wilbur F. Markham on Oct. 5, 1900. Four years later it passed to Herbert W. Markham, who retained ownership until July, 1924, when he sold it to Charles R. Maylender and his son, Charles W. Maylender. Mrs. Harter acquired it from the Maylender estate."
Picture and Article Copyright © 1949, 2001 Herkimer Evening Telegram
Copyright © 2001 Betsy Voorhees
All Rights Reserved.