St. Stephen's Church


Before the current stone building was erected in 1915-16, parishioners of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church were served by this handsome building, which stood just about on the present church's site.

This edifice was erected in 1841-42, and was the third building used for an Episcopal church here. The first, built about 1740 just south (left) of this site, was later used by patriots to store supplies during the Revolution and, as a result, was partly burned by the British in 1777. In 1785, work on a new church was begun near the above site.

"The small parish experienced considerable difficulty in collecting funds for the building of a new church, for the recent war had caused many hardships," wrote historian Silvio A. Bedini. "Accordingly, produce and goods were accepted in lieu of money, including shingles and boards to be used in the construction of the church. The church was not furnished until 1791. In 1794, the building of a pulpit was commissioned, and in 1799, the remainder of the pews were added."

The growing size of the congregation sparked the building of the third church, pictured above, and later the fourth church, which still stands.

The view is interesting in that it shows the old rectory just beyond the church. During much of the 19th Century, this had been the home of Keeler Dauchy, a pillar of the church, having been clerk and senior warden for many years. When he died in 1886, the church decided it would be wise to buy his home for a rectory. The building served this purpose until 1914, when it was moved to Catoonah Street, opposite the firehouse, where it now holds shops and offices. Stories say that expert house mover Caro H. Northrop used only one mule to haul the building to its new location.

This postcard is dated 1910 and was probably published a year or two before that by Albertype for Ridgefield pharmacist H.D. Smith. The view looks northwest from about in front of today's Community Center.

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