A Brief History

The Church of the Redeemer was among the spiritual pioneers of the Valley. On May 10, 1877 a vacant store room was the scene of the congregation’s organizational meeting. The first services were conducted by the Rev. J. A. Brown of Waverly, NY and three months later the congregation’s first rector, the Rev. George F. Rosenmuller arrived. He also served Trinity Episcopal Church in Athens.

In 1878 a chapel was erected on the lot where the present Borough Hall now stands on W. Packer Avenue. The structure served the congregation for the next eleven years.

Robert Packer was the first Senior Warden of the parish and he dreamed of a stately stone edifice on S. Wilbur Avenue near his mansion. He wished to present a church and rectory to the parish along with a bountiful endowment. His generous plans were aborted by his unexpected death in 1883. His sister, Mary Packer Cummings, donated $33,000 to the parish and the cornerstone – erected under a $29,000 contract – was laid in June, 1888. The gothic edifice was consecrated on September 24, 1889.

A prominent feature is the altar carved in Italy of carrara marble by six artists working two months. A smaller version of the main altar is in the Chapel of the Holy Innocents, adjacent to the main sanctuary. Another chapel, All Saints Chapel, is located in the undercroft. It is both a crypt and columbarium.

The tower is an integral part of the church structure containing the first town clock. It also houses a 14-bell carillon dedicated in 1974. The total weight of the bells is 5,144 pounds. In 1989 a Schantz pipe organ was installed in the sanctuary.

The Church of the Redeemer has been a place of gathering for the entire Valley over its many years and continues to be today.