Around 1830 a group of faithful Christians sought to establish an Episcopal church in Walton. By 1831 the legal organization had taken place with the election of Thomas Noble and Everett Guild as Wardens.
The congregation was meeting in the schoolhouse under the guidance of the Rev. Orange Clark, rector of St. John’s, Delhi. On July 20, 1832, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin T. Onderdonk, Bishop of New York, made the first visitation to the parish. He officiated at services, preached in the schoolhouse, celebrated Holy Communion and confirmed seven people. Thus began the spiritual life of Christ Church, 180 years ago.
Bishop Onderdonk returned in August of 1834 to consecrate the new church building. This present structure is not only the oldest church building, but also the oldest public building in Walton. The pine, hemlock and stones are from the Walton area and much of the labor was supplied by the early parishioners. In the late 1880’s the church was moved back some twenty feet to make room for a wider roadway. At that time, the box pews were replaced by the present oak ones and the many paned clear glass windows were replaced by stained glass.
On July 5, 1961, fire destroyed the roof and much of the interior. The rebuilding resulted in the present mahogany paneling and trim, the beamed ceiling and the cathedral lanterns.
For the next 40 years, many repairs and partial restorations have been performed on the tower, both interior and exterior. The last large project was in 1991 with the straightening of the tower. The handicap ramp was installed and part of the church floor was lower to make the church handicap accessible.
The latest and last restoration on the tower (2004-2012), has been the most comprehensive and expensive. Many boards and beams were replaced along with the interior charring scraped away so that the tower will be structurally sound for another 180 years.
Lamb Studios removed the stained glass window above the front entry and repaired it. Second Nature Restoration and Construction did the repair and restoration of the tower including reconstructing much of the fancy work on the outside of the tower and the turrets at the top. They also did the painting.
The stained glass windows were installed in the late 1800's by generous gifts from members of the Ogden family.
The chancel window was put in by J&R Lamb of New York City in memory of Wm. B. Ogden and was judged equal to the finest window in the NY cathedral in color and effect. The two windows nearest the chancel are in memory of his parents, Abraham and Abigail. The two following are in memory of his 2 sisters and brother & wife. The other window is in memory of the Robert North family.
In 1886, two new windows were placed in the narthex of the church. The window on the left or Gospel side was in memory of Carolyn Ogden McCagg and the right or Epistle side window was in memory of Emily Butler Ogden Wheeler. Both were sisters of Wm. B. Ogden and given by the children of those women.
Out of the twelve windows installed, nine in the nave are very tall and each crafted out of over 300 pieces of various colored stained glass arranged to create symbols and scenes of a religious nature.
The original parish house was built by David Gay and bequeathed to Christ Church by his daughter, Laura Gay. It was located in the area now used as a parking lot behind The Emporium, formerly Newberry’s Store. It was sold after the fire in 1961.
The current Gay Memorial Parish House was built in 1963 and contains a kitchen, large assembly room, office, Sunday school room, nursery, and two bathrooms. The assembly room can accommodate over 85 people for church suppers and is of open beam construction.
Our parish house is used on Thursday nights by AA and Mondays for one of our local Boy Scout troops. The hall and kitchen facilities are used for banquets and parties for members and others including our annual Pork Roast Dinner in November. The ECW has hosted wedding and funeral receptions, rummage sales and the annual Christmas Bazaar in the space.
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