Lyons Falls History Association
St. Johns Church of Lyons Falls

St. John's Church Walking or going by horse and carriage for three miles to Port Leyden was how Lyons Falls Catholics attended mass before the year 1909. Mass was celebrated once a month in the Shaw & Ryan Hall, Gaffney Opera House and later the Burkhart Opera House. An altar was made by putting planks over two sugar barrels. Mrs. Ed Ryan and Mrs. John Cronin were in charge of the altar for many years. Mrs. Ryan would take down one of her lace curtains from her parlor to cover a white sheet on the planks. This altar was used for several years until Frank Hoskins made one with a high back. After 1909 this new altar was taken to Port Leyden and used for masses at Calvary Cemetery.

Under the leadership of Reverend John Dean plans were established to build a church in Lyons Falls. Bazaars, fairs, suppers, dances and card parties were held to start a fund for the new church. A picnic was held on every Fourth of July at the Riverside Park on Laura Street. Trains brought in people and others came by horse and carriage. A goodly sum was realized from these affairs. Bazaars and dinners were the highlights of the day. In the evening a crowd gathered to enjoy the display of fireworks and later a dance. Nearly 1000 people attended this affair each year.

A site was chosen at the crest of the hill south of the school on McAlpine Street. Much blasting had to be done on this site. Work began in July 1909 when the foundation was laid. The Gothic Style church is built of brick with limestone trimming. Money was raised for some of the leaded windows by holding a contest. The prize, a diamond ring, was won by Julia Collins House of Lyons Falls.

In 1910 St. John's was dedicated by Bishop Gabriels (Article by Mary Teal)

Lyons Falls History Association