The Old Grange Hall
Columbia County is endowed with a rich heritage of wooden church architecture which covers the full design spectrum, from the simplest shelter to imposing structures. The old Baptist church in North Hillsdale, known to most of us as the Hillsdale Grange Hall, is among the most beautiful. Built in 1839 to serve a congregation that had been established in 1787, it was known to be a place where any member “was licensed to preach.” We were interested to learn that the church was abandoned in the late 1800s and, after many years of neglect and more than a few efforts by the community to save the building, it was acquired by Ella Rodney King Masters of Copake Falls, wife of Francis R. Masters, in 1928.
She promptly donated the historic structure to the Hillsdale Grange to serve as its community center.
Enjoy this old clipping published April 18, 1928, in the Chatham Courier. We admire this description: “In a beautiful valley surrounded by entrancing hillsides, woodlands, and meadows here is a spot which shows nature at its best and delights even him who is not so keen on scenery. The artistic old building itself, rare in its distinctive class, seems something taken from the classics and placed there in this peaceful valley to be preserved forever.”
“To Restore Old Church,” Hillsdale Harbinger, September 24, 1915
“A Generous Act,” Source and Date Unknown
“North Hillsdale’s Beautiful Community Center,” Chatham Courier, April 18, 1928
“Mrs. Francis Masters Died in New York City,” Hudson Daily Star, Date Unknown