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The Dansville Online
  • Dansville’s first church named to state historic register for ties to American Red Cross

  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was named to the State Register of Historic Places and is recommended to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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    St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was named to the State Register of Historic Places and is recommended to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.
    Although the church was the first church in Dansville, its role in a noteworthy event in national history is the reason St. Paul’s was nominated.
    The church, which fittingly sits on Clara Barton Street, is credited for being the starting point of the first local chapter of the American Red Cross.
    In August 1881, Clara Barton hosted the first organizational meeting of the American Red Cross.
    Ann Myers and Rosemary Alexander, who are both members of St. Paul’s, along with preservationist Alice Burdick are responsible for getting St. Paul’s on the State Register.
    The trio studied the church, from the original material used to build it to who the first settlers were.
    “It was a lot of digging,” Alexander said. “We needed to know a lot about the church.”
    After submitting their application to the State Historic Preservation Office in December, they were told it would be presented in March due to the amount of information they gave.
    “We’re still in the process,” Myers said. “The Red Cross part is secured, but there’s additional information being investigated in relation to some other significant historical question.”
    The Rev. Virginia Mazzarella was happy to hear the church was nominated.
    “I didn’t have much to do with it,” the pastor confessed. “But it is exciting.”
    Mazzarella is no stranger to the historical significance of St. Paul’s.
    “The history is important to us,” Mazzarella said. “We try to preserve what she (Barton) did here.”
    Despite the church having gone through some changes, the pulpit that Barton used to address the need for an American Red Cross still sits in the building.
    Behind the sanctuary, under a plaque honoring Barton, sits the pulpit.
    “It’s an important occasion that happened,” Burdick said.
    In addition to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 26 other New York properties are being recommended to the National Register of Historic Places, including the First Baptist Society of Bath in Steuben County.

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