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Heritage Facts Bundle #4

June 18, 2013


pulpit drawing

For 300 years the White Plains Presbyterian Church has been nurturing faith in our city. Heritage Facts, or snippets of  history, appear in our Sunday bulletin every week.            Check the index for other posts.

March – April 2013

HERITAGE FACT: The first pastor to serve the Rye and White Plains Presbyterian Churches was The Rev. John Walton, a native of New London and a graduate of Yale College. Walton was known as a pastor in the dissenting, or English Puritan, tradition. Though serving both congregations for many years, Rev. Walton moved his home from Rye to White Plains in 1726.

HERITAGE FACT: When this congregation as first established in 1714, the members of the church were subjects of Queen Anne. Anne the last of the English Monarchs and the final Stuart to hold the throne. Her reign saw the Act of Union (1707) which united England and Scotland under a British Monarchy. But her reign was already near an end. The same year this congregation began meeting saw the ascension of George I, the first of the Hanoverian line who would hold the throne until the twentieth century.

HERITAGE FACT: Our earliest parishioners who lived a trade lived in the village. The farmers resided in the surrounding areas and from the hill tops on their land they enjoyed the most wonderful spread of nature – sweeping vistas of the lower areas, flanked by the Bronx and Mamaroneck Rivers. The higher promontories continue to be known today by the same names: Chatterton Hill on the west side of the Bronx River, Hatfield Hill, Merritt Hill and Purdy Hill on the White Plains side of the Bronx River. Several miles to the north, nestled against Miller Hill, stood Miller farmhouse.

HERITAGE FACT: As our children lead our Palm Sunday procession today, it might be interesting to know some history of our church school. Our earliest Church School classes met in our former sanctuary.

From 1825 to 1854, twenty-five to thirty students sat on each side of the pulpit, the boys being taught by Elder Purdy and the girls by Mrs. Bogart. When fire destroyed that sanctuary in 1854, the classes were moved to the manse until a temporary “lecture room” could be built on the corner of Barker Ave. That structure was later replaced by the New Chapel in 1888 (which is currently the location of the Upper Room and the Thrift Shop). The construction of the Church House in 1922 joined the chapel to the Sanctuary and became the newest home for church school, with classes meeting in cubicles between the wooden posts.  A growing Church School program was one reason for the building expansion in 1963, when the present classrooms were designed.

HERITAGE FACT: The large Allin Window in our chancel dates from the 1940s. It was installed as part of a sanctuary beautification project, and was the gift of George Allin. The stained glass depicts the heavenly host of Isaiah chapter six singing “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.”

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