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Presbyterian Church

3 Park Street, Potsdam, NY

By: Village Historian, Museum Curator

From Marguerite Gurley Chapman's book; "Early History of Potsdam".

In 1820 the Presbyterians decided to build a white wooden church on the Gospel Lot at a cost of $4,500.00 This was in the center of the State Teachers College building facing the park. The frame was up on July 1st, 1821. The raising was a great event. An ample lunch was provided by the people of the church with plenty of good liquor to wash it down. Total abstinence was not yet considered good religious virtue. The following story was related by the Rev. George H Sawyer to Wm. H Wallace Esq. right after the erection of the single tall timber. Ansel Paine mounted to the top, more than 100 feet high, stood erect on the end of the timber, swung a whiskey bottle around his head and then flung it to the ground where it landed unbroken in the mud. He then for a moment, reversed his position, stood on his head on the end of the single timber and finally descended to the earth.

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"Early History of Potsdam by  Marguerite Gurley Chapman, Published by the Potsdam Public Museum in 1956.

Photos courtesy of the Potsdam Public Museum Archives.