History of the Mohawk Church
In 1865, the Mohawk United Methodist Church formed when a group of Methodists, living in Mohawk but worshiping in Herkimer, began having services of their own in a former schoolhouse on Columbia Street. The Rev. C. Baldwin served this new congregation until 1867. By 1869, church membership had reached 49. The church at 27 East Main Street was built soon after, under the leadership and untiring efforts of Rev. Olin C. Wightman, the dedication of the people, and generous donations from Philo and Eliphalet Remington. Brick from the local Mohawk brickyard was used, and the townspeople helped pay for the new bell along with the church members.
Over the next several years, a parsonage was purchased on Main Street, then sold. A new parsonage was built on Orchard Street, then in 1893, a parsonage was acquired on S. Washington Street. On July 20, 1899, the church was incorporated and the first trustees elected.
In 1909, an alcove was built at the rear of the church and a new pipe organ purchased and installed. A lightning storm in 1912 damaged the steeple; after some discussion it was decided not to build a new one. An addition was completed on the rear of the church in 1956 providing more room for Sunday school classes. A lounge was furnished and named in honor of Rev. William Wilbur. A new kitchen was added, and the old kitchen converted into the pastor’s office. Further renovations over the next decade involved replacing the original slate roof, adding a second choir loft, rebuilding and moving the organ, and making a divided chancel.
The Mohawk Methodist Church celebrated its centennial November 6 and 7, 1965. Exhibits were set up in the dining hall, there was a banquet and a program that included an opportunity to honor 50-year members. The Rev. W. Ralph Ward, Bishop of the Syracuse area, was the speaker for a rededication service that took place Sunday afternoon.
In the 1980s, an elevator was added to allow handicapped access to the sanctuary. Later the elevator shaft was extended down to the basement and additional changes made to make the building accessible to all.
In 2001, the church council voted to become part of a new cooperative parish with the Ilion and Frankfurt churches. Over the next few years, the church sanctuary was renovated and for a time, was host to Morning Star Parish’s contemporary Wednesday Night Alive service and a Sunday evening youth service. In 2007, a vote was taken by members of the three churches on the possibility of joining together as one church. The Mohawk members voted to go ahead with this move. In the fall of 2007, the church council voted to close the Mohawk building. The bell and the Remington stained glass window from the Mohawk church have since been moved to the Ilion church, along with the memorial plaques. The church organ is scheduled to be installed in the Frankfurt church.
The Mohawk church building was sold to the Word Christian Center, a church that had been headquartered in Herkimer, and it continues to be used to the glory of God.