The First Congregational Church of Christ
26 East Church Street, Fairport, NY 14450
The Church in 2008
The Oldest Church on Church Street
Hiram Kinglsey built the First Congregational Church of Perinton in 1868. It is oldest church on Church Street and one of three early remaining churches on that street in original or close to original condition. This building represents the first established church in Perinton and anchors the churches on the east end of Church Street. The spire is visible from much of the village.
The church is Romanesque Revival style with a Gothic steeple. It has a monochromatic brick surface with rounded arches over tall stained glass windows. Belt courses mark the horizontal divisions on the front of the building with keystones over the doors and front windows. The square spire and turrets are Gothic; both west turrets are missing pinnacles, which show in photographs taken in the early 1900’s. The grey and red bride-work and front “dripping verge boards” are unique to this building.
Romanesque Revival Style with Gothic Steeple.
Grisaille & Stained Glass Windows
The stained glass windows in the sanctuary are worthy of designation alone. They most likely were installed in the 1868 building. The style is grisaille, a French style that was a common method of making stained glass in the early 1800's.
Valery O'Hara from Pike Stained Glass says, "In most grisaille or "quarry" type windows, the diamond patterns consist of painted clear glass. The details on the glass are painted with iron oxide-based vitreous paint, which is fired on to the glass in a kiln, like ceramic paint. Most of the pieces of glass in the sanctuary have several layers of hand-applied paint on them, and each application requires a separate firing.
The symbols incorporated in the windows were quelled from medieval teachings, when every color, number, letter, tree and flower had symbolic meaning. Symbols such as the Fleur de Lies were popular. The qour quarry pieces in [this] church are geometric with what looks like an abstracted flower in the center." Valery said this style of window is becoming very rare.
Third Church on Site
This 1904 photo of the church shows the 1900 addition.
The current building is actually the third church on this site. The original church was moved and later burned. The second church was built in 1844 and moved to West Ave. Many area residents will remember that building as Shaws Hall or Willams Hardware. The building was later torn down during the 70's.
Perhaps the windows currently in the church were from the 1844 church. The pattern of the windows on the outside wall resembles the size of the present windows. Valery says 1868 is late for grisaille windows...she feels they very well may be original to the 1844 building.
This research and photos of the earlier building indicate that the windows from the 1844 building were likely incorporated into the 1868 building and the colored stained glass around the grisaille glass was added at that time.
First Church Organization
The congregation represents the first church organization in Perinton. In 1824, nine people met at the home of Jesse Perrin to form a church called the First Congregational Church of Perinton. In 1831 the group resolved, “That female members of this church have the right to vote on all matters that come before the church.” The building has had several additions: on the west in 1900 and 1951, on the east side-the Snow Room was added in 1924, and the two story back part in 1971.