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The Times
  • Structural problems threaten Indian Castle Church

  • The Indian Castle Church, located just off Route 5S, three miles east of Thruway Exit 29A in the town of Danube, survived a fire more than three decades ago, but the building is facing another serious threat now. The foundation is in need of repair and the building needs strengthening to avert a possible collapse...
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  • The Indian Castle Church, located just off Route 5S, three miles east of Thruway Exit 29A in the town of Danube, survived a fire more than three decades ago, but the building is facing another serious threat now.
    The foundation is in need of repair and the building needs strengthening to avert a possible collapse, according to members of the Indian Castle Church Restoration and Preservation Society, which owns and maintains the structure.
    While the historic structure may appear sound to the casual observer, members of the society can see signs of stress. There is a bow in the front wall around the entry doors from the weight of the steeple. The fieldstone footers are crumbling and the northeast corner of the building hangs barely supported and in need of an overhaul.
    The upgrade would be expensive, however.
    “We had one quote saying the cost would be between $26,000 and $30,000,” said Eileen Warner, of the Indian Castle Church Restoration and Preservation Society, but she added, “We haven’t had a lot of people who have responded to our asking for quotes.”
    She added any work now would have to wait until next spring.
    The board sponsored a fall dance at the Knights Inn of Little Falls as a fundraiser for the project. Warner said this would be the last fundraiser for the year. The board will begin meeting again in February 2013.
    In addition to stabilizing the structure, there is other work to be done, according to Warner, including boards that need replacing, painting that needs to be done and finishing work to be done on the inside walls and the ceiling.
    “When you get a good strong wind, there are still some cracks and we come in to find debris from the fire on the floor,” said Warner. The fire, believed to have been set by vandals, occurred in 1979.
    Warner said her son and a friend hope to do some work next month to stabilize the back corner until the actual stabilization project can be undertaken.
    Raising the necessary funds is a major challenge. “We’re a very, very small group trying to keep the church going,” she said, noting the board consists of seven members.
    The group used to sponsor a craft fair in the early October, Warner said, but dwindling attendance, fewer vendors and inclement weather — one year there was sleet — brought it to an end.
    The Indian Castle Church Restoration and Preservation Society is hoping the public will contribute to help preserve the historic structure.
    Anyone who would like to make a donation for the project may make out a check payable to Indian Castle Church and mail it to Indian Castle Church, P.O. Box 172, Little Falls, NY 13365. For more information, contact Eileen Warner at 823-2099.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Indian Castle Church was originally constructed in 1769, through the efforts of Sir William Johnson, British commissioner of Indian Affairs, prior to the revolution. He remained concerned with religious education for the Indian nations, particularly the Mohawks, until his death in 1774.
    The church was built with British and Indian efforts. The bell is said to have been stolen by Indians during the Revolution, but they forgot to muffle the clapper rousing the patriots in the area; they followed and retrieved it.
    The church is believed to be the only surviving Anglican colonial mission to the Indians in North America.

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