Lyons Falls History Association
Forest Presbyterian Church

 old churchForest 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.



Lyons Falls History Association