St. John’s Episcopal Church has won a competitive historic preservation grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy Sacred Sites program. The wooden church, whose “carpenter gothic” design is attributed to 19th century architect Richard Upjohn, was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1990. The congregation has preserved the original fabric and design of the church, and St. John’s looks much like it did when it was built almost 150 years ago. It is one of only a few board and batten churches in Western New York with an active congregation. The $3000 preservation grant will help to pay for roofing and drainage system repairs and foundation re-pointing.
St. John’s has a rich, shared history with nearby Old Fort Niagara. The congregation was incorporated in 1868, and Episcopalians met in the chapel at Fort Niagara, in private homes and shared worship space with other denominations. Everything changed in 1878 when the church was built on land donated by Ordnance Sgt. Lewis Leffman, and his wife, Elizabeth. Many of the original parishioners were part of the garrison at Fort Niagara, and gave money to build the church and helped in the construction.
The congregation is hosting its annual Strawberry Fest on June 24 from 11 am to 4 pm, and the church will be open for self-guided tours. More information about the Strawberry Fest and the history of the church can be found at www.stjohnsyoungstown.org.