History of the Ilion Church

The beginning of the Methodist Church in Ilion dates back to 1832. The first Class was formed during that year and was composed of six persons. The first place of worship was the home of the Class Leader which was on Canal Street.

Several small buildings, mostly private homes, were used as meeting places until 1841. In this year the Methodist and Universalist congregations joined together to build a union church on the corner of Otsego and Second Streets where the Baptist Church now stands.

In 1862 a Parsonage was purchased for $1,500 and it thus became necessary to have a Board of Trustees. The first trustees were elected on August 11, 1862. At a meeting of this body on March 5, 1864, a subscription for a new Methodist Church was read, presented and accepted. Pledges amounting to $3,060 were raised. The house and lot on the corner of West and Second Streets was purchased for $1,000 and the house moved across the street.

In April 1864, immediate steps were taken to build the Church. It was planned to build it of cut stone, similar to that in the first story, but the stone further down in the quarry was found to be too soft, so the Church was completed in red brick.

The original church building was 50 by 80 feet and would seat 500 persons. The architect was John Hose of Watertown, N.Y. The Church was built by Eben Cowles and Son of Watertown at a cost of $25,000. The cornerstone was laid on October 1, 1864, and the Church was completed near the end of 1865. The dedication Service was held on January 3, 1866, with Bishop Mathew Simpson giving the Dedicatory sermon.

In 1890 the Remington Memorial Chapel was added to the Church. It was given by Caroline A. Remington in memory of her husband, Philo Remington.

During 1910 extensive alterations and redecorating, which included a new steam heating system, walls and ceiling redecorated, a new hardwood floor laid in the auditorium, a new lighting system and a new front entrance were completed at a cost of $9,750. Also during this time the first of the Memorial Windows was installed.

In 1944 yet another new heating system was installed and the sanctuary was once again redecorated. A new lighting system was installed and other improvements and some necessary repairs were made.

This church has had a useful and vigorous life for over 135 years. We of the present time feel confident that, with God’s guidance and the active cooperation of the membership, our Church will continue its life for many years to come.