In late August 1900 two unanimous meetings were held in the Trout Brook Valley School House to plan the construction of a stone church on Kenyon Hill in South Ticonderoga. The first meeting was presided over by Horace A. Moses, and the second by Rev. Joseph Cook. Both were native sons of Ticonderoga and both achieved greatness in their chosen field — one as an industrialist and the other in the ministry. Both never forgot their hometown.
Valley View Memorial Chapel sits on Kenyon Hill overlooking several well know local Adirondack summits including Trumbull Mountain to the south, past the Cedar Mountain in the west, to the Three Brothers in the northeast. To the north, east and west lay the remains of many of the early settlers and to this day one of the favorite resting places of those that loved this valley so much. It is also a valley seeped in the history of battles fought by two great European Nations for control of the “New Land” during the French and Indian War Era, as well as, our own American Revolution. Later this “Eden” has felt the axe and the plow by those early settlers who helped build our town.
“Valley View Memorial Chapel is a small stone structure intended to seat only about one hundred and thirty auditors, and standing on the south side of the road on what has been know as Kenyon Hill, but may probably be hereafter called Chapel Hill. It is a union chapel. Its services will be under the control of all the evangelical denominations combined. Their enterprise originated with Mr. Horace A. Moses, who with his uncle and partner, Mr. B. D. Rising of Mittineague Paper Company, Massachusetts, have made exceedingly liberal contributions to the expense involved. The total cost of the structure with the grounds, it is expected, will be about $3,500. Mr. Edward Lee, son of our honored citizen, the late Alexander Lee, has charge of the masonry. The carpenter work was done by Mr. John Latrell. Both assisted in making changes to the original, as drawn, plans. — The plans were drawn by an architect in Springfield, Mass., employed by Mr. Horace A. Moses, president of its Board of Trustees. Other trustees are Mrs. Joseph Cook, Mrs. H. H. Moses and Mrs. W. J. Bryan; also, Mr. Henry Shattuck and Mr. Leonard Densmore, who is Secretary and Treasurer of the Board.” (It is noted that Rev. Joseph Cook declined being a trustee due to his health and his frequent and long period of times away from town. He died shorty before the dedication of the chapel on 24 June 1901. ) Ed. Note – from the Dedication booklet dated 25 August 1901. The original chapel had no bell tower, one was added in 1909.
The pulpit is made of quartered oak and in its front panel is placed a stone that came from the Garden of Gethsemane with a cross insert. It was a gift of Rev. Joseph Cook when his wife and he visited the holy land in 1881. The memorial windows: Joseph B. Shattuck, by his son – Sheldon Shattuck; Charles L. Wicker, by his daughter Mrs. Frank Moses; Mr & Mrs Bradford Catlin, by their grandchildren; Mr & Mrs Warren Spencer, by their daughters – Mrs. Roger DeLano, Mrs. William J. Bryan and Mrs. Stanly Bevins: Mrs Lenoard Densmore, by her husband; Mr & Mrs William H. Cook and Joseph Cook, by Mr. Joseph Cook; Harvey H. Moses, by Mr. D.P. Ludington; Mr & Mrs J. D. Potter, by their children; and Henry G. Marsh, by himself.
It this same dedication booklet there was a “Historical Sketch” that gives us some insight to the familiar constitutional citation of separation of “church and state.”
“The town records of this district run back to 1813, and the meetings of the district were, at that time, held in a school-house although there is not date of its erection. In 1850-51 the present building was put up. From the origin of the settlement the school-house has been the only place for religious services on Sunday, the week-day prayer meeting, funerals, district meetings and social entertainments of a public character. According to the present statue regulating the use of school buildings, they can be used for no other purpose than that which is strictly educational, except by consent of the trustees. Therefore, it will be readily seen that the time had arrived for the building which we dedicate to-day…. it continues … It is very gratifying to the Building Committee to know that the whole neighborhood has shown great interest in the enterprise, and has given more than liberally in money and work, proving by the alacrity with which they have responded that each one feels a personal interest and pride in the success of the enterprise.”
From a Sentinel article dated 24 June 1909. ” Children’s Day at Valley View Chapel — The eighth celebration of Children’s day took place at Valley Memorial chapel Sunday afternoon, June 20th. The artistic interior was decorated with daisies and buttercups with vases of white syringas, (lillacs) and the bright faces of girls and boys seemed like human blossoms in the springtime of life. For weeks there has been patient and painstaking drill of songs by the choir and both recitations and songs by the Sabbath school scholars. Some new voices were heard from little people who went forward to the platform bravely and acquitted themselves well. The program was read by Mr. Floyd Densmore, the superintendent, and Miss Fleeta Catlin was the mistress of ceremonies. Rev. Mr. Shaw of Hague, presented the bibles to the eight candidates whose names are: Frederick Smith, Lillian Shattuck, James Palmer, Olive Elethorp. Elwin Elethrop, Lydia Harrington, Sherman Harrington, Ruth Bevins. Mrs. Joseph Cook (widow of Rev. Joseph Cook) made the request of the children receiving the bibles this year that they should learn the twenty-third Psalm during the year and recite in concert as a part of the exercises of next Children’s day. The chapel was well filled buy an interested company of friends and relatives of the participants….The annual collection for missions amounted to about $4.50, which this year goes to the Methodist Church of Ticonderoga.
Today, the Valley View Memorial Chapel, is still used for its intended purpose and a favorite of photographers.
This article is our continuing effort to promote and educate those of interest in our town’s history — with information on: “settlers”, ” builders”, religion, schools, buildings, trades. botany and geography. If you have any information about the people, subject, or any other related information we would like to hear from you.