Stone Buildings of Roxbury - Jay Gould Reform Church

No expense was spared when the Gould Church was built by the children of railroad magnate Jay Gould, a Roxbury native son, in 1893-84.Ground for the church was broken in June of 1893. Jay Gould’s eldest son, George Jay, laid the corner stone on September 2, 1893 with a silver trowel made specifically for that purpose. The church was dedicated on October 13, 1894.

The church was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh of New York, who also designed the NYS Capitol, The Plaza Hotel, and Dakota Apartments. The building is of early English Gothic style architecture and is constructed of St. Lawrence marble. It is cruciform in shape, the main axis running north and south, parrellel to Main Street. The legnth of the church is 92 feet and the width 83 feet. The three windows in memory of Jay Gould are in the apse and are of the Saviour, Mary and the Angel. The window in the south nave, in memory of Mrs. Jay Gould are of the three great virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity. These were designed by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company of New York. The windows over the organ pipes and over the chapel were designed by Maitland Armstrong.A Ferrand and Votey Roosevelt pipe organ with an elaborately carved oak case was installed at the cost of $4770. When the oragn was first installed a water motor furnished power to work the bellows. In 1929 when electricity became available, Mrs. Helen Gould Shepard (Jay eldest daughter) had the organ overhauled by a company by the name of William Laws of Boston and is now all electric. The immense bell was cast in 1864 by the Clinton H. McNeeley Bell Co. of Troy.

The total cost of the structure was $113,000 to build and furnish.In the fall of 1982 the church recieved a new slate roof. In 1985 it was determined by an engineer that the south wall of the tower and west wall had to be completely dismantled and rebuilt. In1989 the church underwent a $500,000 restoration project which included the distmantling and reconstruction of the two towers and repointing the motar on all the exterior joints. This project was made possible with funds from the NYS Enviormental Quality Bond Act, The O’Connor Foundation and other private and public funds.

Today, the Gould Church remains a focal point of our community and is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places as is the entire hamlet of Roxbury.

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