The Historic Old Dutch Church
272 Wall Street
Kingston, New York 12401
*Note from the Blogger: this church is where every year the ‘Sinterklass Committee’ has there annual fundraiser. The inside is beautifully decorated for the holidays and the food is wonderful. Check out the Sinterklaas Rhinebeck, NY website for more special events.
I recently attended the Annual “Cemetery Walk” of the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY, where they have actors playing famous people who are buried at the church.
We went through the cemetery and one by one we met actors who played the roles of Sadie and Elsie Reher, whose family owned the bakery in the Kingston Roundout, Jenny, slave who was living in Upstate New York at the time of slavery in New York, Calvert Vaux, the famous landscape artist of Central and Prospect Park fame, who also designed many homes and buildings, Emily Chadbourne, the art collector, philanthropist and socialite. To round off the cast their was Rachel Hasbrouck, the landowners and Father Devine, a spiritual leader of the 1930’s.
The Cemetery Walk at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY
We spent about fifteen minutes with each character and than would hear the cow bell and move onto the next character. It is a lot of walking around a cemetery in the dark and a few people could not handle it.
The only problem with the event was that the actors took it upon themselves to relate their characters to modern times and what is going on in the world today and I did not take a tour to hear their political views. That put a damper on the evening. They are supposed to stay in the era their character was born into. The tour covered three centuries of residents of Kingston, NY.
Take some time to come to the church during daylight hours and see the cemetery on your own time. It is very interesting and gives you a perspective on the role of the church from colonial to modern times.
I also had been up to the church many times for Sinterklass fundraisers, where we were treated to Dutch “Sweets & Treats” along with a visit from Sinterklass (Santa Claus). It was always a nice night of music and entertainment.
The Sinterklass fundraiser “Sweets & Treats” used to be held at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY.
The History of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston, NY:
Founded in 1659, the Old Dutch Church is often referred to as “Kingston’s Cathedral”. The present structure was designed by Minard LeFever and built in 1852. Architect Calvert Vaux said of this design, “I cannot change a thing without impairing the exquisite unity. It’s ideally perfect.”
Downtown Kingston and the church in the middle
Organized in 1659:
*Sixth Oldest Reformed Church in North America.
*Archives containing Baptism and Marriage Records dating back from 1660 to present.
*The Land on which the church stands was a gift from Peter Stuyvesant.
*Fifty Reformed Churches in the Hudson Valley, New Jersey and Pennsylvania trace their roots to Old Dutch Church, Kingston.
The Old Dutch Church in Downtown Kingston, NY
*The ancient churchyard is the resting place of 1400 early settlers, including 77 Revolutionary War veterans and first New York Governor and two time Vice-President, George Clinton.
*Inside in the church: the magnificent Tiffany Window above the pulpit; bronze angels and the spectacular Moeller Organ.
*Visitation site of both Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Tours and information talks given by Old Dutch Church guides are available by appointment.
Sunday Morning Worship: 10:30am
The inside of the church
Church office Hours 10:00am-3:00pm weekdays (845) 338-6759
*Disclaimer: this information was taken from the Old Dutch Church pamphlet. The church is the site of the annual fundraiser for the Sinterklass festival every November. Please check out the Sinterklass festival calendar every year for updates. The church cemetery is worth the visit alone with all the unique and historical people buried here.