Year built: 1898-99
Architect: William L. Coulter
The church was founded by the Reverend William B. Lusk, who first conducted services in the Keese's Mills schoolhouse, and served as pastor from 1899 to 1906. Paul Smith donated land on the St. Regis River and summer residents on the St. Regis lakes donated the funds used to construct the church.
“Since my coming to Paul Smith’s in the Spring of ‘97, I held services for the guides every Sunday in the Keese Mill school house,” wrote Reverend William Lusk. “Many well known guides, and people of the settlement . . . . , with their wives and families, crowded the little school house, the seats of which were so uncomfortable that most of them preferred to stand around the walls, so I became eager to have a church erected and already had my eye on a site, a little knoll on the St. Regis River, almost surrounded by water. It looked very unpromising as it was overgrown with bramble and the stumps of old pine trees showed up over the entire lot; but I detected its possibilities.” Church building began after Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes arrived on Birch Island for the summer of 1897, and donated $2,500 to Lusk to build a church. “Paul [Smith] gladly gave the land, and the architect, William L. Coulter, of Saranac Lake, was forthwith engaged.”
"When a satisfactory sketch of the proposed building was ready and other preliminaries arranged, ground was broken and the structure rushed to completion,” wrote Lusk. “The new church was ready for dedication July 15, 1899."
Source: Reverend William B. Lusk, "Memories of the Early Days of St. Regis Presbyterian Church, Paul Smith’s, N.Y., 1899-1949" (Paul Smith’s, N.Y.: St. Regis Presbyterian Church, 1949). Adirondack Collection, Saranac Lake Free Library.
As of July 2012, the church is under contract for sale to a private party.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 3, 1999
Lake Clear News
Some of the local people at that time were Joe Newell and sons, Lovell, Sam and Sylvester; Elias Hall, Irwin Jaquis; Harry Hyde; Abner Tyler and son Wortley; Jim Cross and son Will; Moses Sawyer; the Otis brothers, Fred, Myron and Albert; Jack Martin; Tom Clark; Harry Thompson; Orvis Crary; Tommy Redwood; and George Skiff. Note it was all men!
In the summer of 1898 Paul Smith donated land situated on a Knoll overlooking the old mill dam on the St. Regis River to build a church. William L. Coulter of Saranac Lake was the architect. After a lot of hard work by the whole community the St. Regis Presbyterian Church was completed and dedicated on July 15, 1899.
Paul Smith himself was at the dedication.
Because many of the campers were attending the worship services and they had help support the new church, a boat landing was constructed. The first one was about a mile down from the knoll that the new church was on and then another one was constructed at the back of the church, making it much easier for the campers to come to the worship service.
In 1900's the old Skiff residence, which was across the road, was acquired to be used as a clubhouse. As time went on it was evident a much safer place was needed and in 1965 what is now called Lusk Hall was constructed below the church.
As The Rev. William B. Lusk had started the St. Regis Presbyterian Church it was only fitting the new hall be named for him.
For many years there were large Sunday school classes and youth groups, so Lusk Hall was put to good use.
During the summer months it is used by the Adirondack Canoe Expedition sponsored by Presbytery of Northern New York. For several years during the winter months church services are held in Lusk Hall.
So after 100 years of worship service the St. Regis Presbyterian Church is still serving the community of Paul Smiths and I am sure will be there for another 100 years.
The following list is from The Brighton Story, pages 88-89, by Geraldine Collins.
Minister (all "The Reverend"):
William B. Lusk, 1897-1906
Thomas B. Anderson, 1908-1918
William C. Watson, 1919-1923
Henry Cousens, 1924-1926
William F. Koenig, 1926-1933
Ronald M. Straus, 1934-1936
Howard D. Pender, 1937-1940
George E. Smith, 1940-1946
Douglas W. Gray, 1946-1951
Sidney Barnes, summer of 1951
Jesse M. Corum, III, 1952-1956
William B. MacCready, 1957-1961
Thomas D. Woodward, 1962-1964
George R. Sailer, 1964-1967
John Fitch (supply), 1968-1970
Janice Morris, 1970-
2011-07-18 18:30:36 We have had the privilege of worshiping in this beautiful church for many years until Parkinson's took a toll on Bruce's health. We miss our visits but are blessed with many fond memories of the church and the wonderful people of the congregation. God be with all of you for many many years of service and spreading God's love. Bruce and Carol Belling —18.104.22.168