Built in 1852 and located in the core of Kingston's Stockade district, the Old Dutch Church is the fourth building to serve a congregation that has existed since 1659. Under the direction of Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant, the City of Kingston was created as a fort, or a "stockade," to protect Dutch settlers from the raids of Native Americans. Religion was an important part of colonial life, and although many settlers came to America for personal gain, others came to New Netherland (later to become New York) to freely practice their religion of choice. The most religiously heterogeneous of the American colonies, New Netherland of the 1650s and 1660s included a wide range of religious sects, including Dutch Reformed, Lutherans, English Congregationalist, Quakers, and Jews. The congregation that today makes up the Old Dutch Church formed in 1659, just a year after the completion of the Stockade. The church grew along with the rest of Kingston, and in 1852, the present bluestone church was erected at a cost of $33,631.39. Designed by Minard Lafever, a New York ecclesiologist, the Old Dutch Church displays both Egyptian and Greek influences, which are both recognizable elements in the general architectural style known as Renaissance Revival. Lafever consistently implemented a round-arched treatment throughout the building, and the interior's vaulted ceiling reflects some of English architect Sir Christopher Wren's themes detailed in London's St. Paul's Cathedral. The fourth church situated on this site, the congregation has conscientiously conserved and restored all of the original church records of baptism, marriages, and minutes. Located outside the church is the congregation's historic cemetery, as well as a monument to George Clinton, a Brigadier General in the Revolutionary War, the first governor of New York State, and Vice President under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Old Dutch Church
Photograph by John E. Reinhardt
Old Dutch Church is located in the Stockade Historic District at 272 Wall Street, at the corner of Wall and Main Streets. Tours of the building are available by appointment. For more information, call 845-338-6759.