Forest Presbyterian Church
Forest Presbyterian Church has been an important part of the history
of Lyons Falls since it was first organized in 1826 by a group of
twelve men and women meeting in private homes. In the summer of 1853,
the Reverend Dr. Thomas Brainerd, a native of the town of Leyden and
pastor of Pine Street Church in Philadelphia, came home for a visit.
He was so impressed in the interest of the people for a building of
worship that he sent plans for a suitable building and helped raise
the money needed to build the church. The church building was to be
built on a point of land where the Black and Moose Rivers join near
the waterfall. This church was a small wooden building dedicated on
August 6, 1854. Standing in a pine grove, it was appropriately named
Forest Church. This first church was on the east side of the Black
River and required crossing a bridge to get to the village.
By 1892, the little church was badly in need of repairs and the
village had developed on the other side of the Black River. It was
decided a new church should be built in the heart of the village to
better serve the people. During the winter of 1892-1893, plans were
drawn for the church to be built alongside existing parsonage on
Center Street. On Thursday, July 12, 1894, the new church was
dedicated. Of the 375 persons who attended, 20 were people who had
attended the dedication of the original Forest Church in 1854. On the
dedication day, G.H.P. Gould, Treasurer, announced the church was free
of debt as a result of his own generous donation. The cost of the
church was $6,549.37. The old bell from the first church, presented by
Lyman R. Lyon, was installed and is still in use today. Several of the
windows are from the 1854 church.
The Parish House was added in 1926 and was dedicated on the 100th
anniversary of the original church, September 1,1826. It was used as a
center for church and community activities. The Parish House continues
to serve this purpose to this day.
In 1902, the original manse, which had been built in the village when
the church was still in the forest, was moved from the lot adjacent to
the newly built church, to the end of the block and replaced with the
existing larger manse to accommodate the pastor's large family. The
new manse was built "in harmony with the architecture of the church"
(O'Hara). There is no evidence that the church architect was directly
involved, however, he was at the same time building the Gould Mansion
Complex (National Register Listed) just a block and a half away. In
addition to the 1894 church and 1902 manse, there is also a 19th
Century barn located behind the manse.